The business of death provides the framework for this black comedy about a mortician's assistant who wants to marry an executioner's daughter. Her father really wants to change professions, but cannot, as he will lose his new government-sponsored apartment. The young man is persuaded to take over the job, but he swears he will quit before he must kill someone. Unfortunately, an execution is scheduled shortly before the beginning of a major carnival, a time when many executions are halted. The bride and groom travel there, hoping the victim will be pardoned, but he is not and the groom must fulfill his duty. Although he swears he will never do another, his face tells another story, and the old executioner knows that many more state-sanctioned deaths will follow.