Boulogne-sur-Mer in the Pas-de-Calais region in Northern France. Marie-Rose is the owner of one the region's most important scrapyards. She manages her business with an iron fist and reigns supreme over her family, a clan of scrap merchants who practically live cut off from the rest of the world.
Aurélia, a sociology student, is preparing her end-of-studies dissertation. She has a meeting with Marie-Rose. Just when she arrives for it, Marie-Rose is hospitalized. Aurélia then begins her work with the family. In Marie-Rose's absence, people start talking and what underlies the family ties is revealed.