A couple is brutally murdered in the working-class district of Paris. Later on, the narrative follows the lives of their two daughters, both in love with a Parisian thug and leading them to separate ways.
Allan visits the sinister Usher family mansion, where his friend Roderick is painting a portrait of his sickly wife Madeline. The portrait seems to be draining the life out of Madeline, slowly leading to her death.
Marie wants to escape from her job and also from her lover, Paul, an unemployed drunk. She dreams of going off with Jean, a dockworker. The two men quarrel and fight over Marie on two occasions, but Paul retains a hold over her.