T

he twin sisters Helena and Irene are born in Helsinki during World War II. A few months later their mother, Sirkka, leaves the girls in the care of their grandmother, an old communist, and runs away with a German soldier. Their life under the protection of their grandmother and the teachings of communism ends first with the death of Stalin, then with that of their grandmother. The girls are eight years old when they are put in an orphanage. Their mother shows up at the orphanage in the company of Ramon, a Spanish trapeze artist. They are on a talent search for a German circus. Ramon trains the reluctant Irene during circus tours in Central Europe. She becomes the trapeze star of the circus. The hard work soon exhausts Irene and she falls from height, as if on purpose. Helena has secretly learned the art of fire-eating. Now she is burdened with both her mother and her sister. The violent life, however, separates the three from each other. In the present-day Helsinki the middle-aged...

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