This 1953 film is about a newly orphaned, destitute teenage girl, Lili (Leslie Caron). She finds her way to a carnival where she tries to get work but is harshly rejected. The carnival's cold-hearted puppeteer (Mel Ferrer) sees her contemplating suicide, and uses his puppets to reach out to her. Lili interacts with the puppets like they're real people. It's as if she's lost touch with reality. The public is intrigued by this bizarre woman who talk to the puppets, and she inadvertently becomes a highlight "performance" at the carnival.