In Pirjo Honkasalo's films, men are no more than passers-by, or worse, the bringers of violence - destructive forces. In this fictional drama, men have disappeared entirely into the background. Sisters Irene and Helena never knew their father, and their mother deserts them shortly after their birth to run off with a German serviceman. After their grandmother dies, the two sisters end up in an orphanage. Then their mother arrives on the scene and whisks them away to go work for a circus. They travel together throughout Europe, ultimately winding up in Helsinki. While the sisters are devoted to one another, their relationship with their mother is ambivalent at best, but the mother's love for her children is undiminished. Honkasalo tells the story largely through flashbacks in colour, while the scenes set in the present and related by one of the sisters are filmed in black and white, as if the here and now is nothing but a pale reflection of the past. The film is an unhurried examination of how the past impacts the present, a common feature of Honkasalo's films. Each new generation must eat fire to survive.