The Pianist, a film by Roman Polanski, teaches its audience that a certain law of film--that a movie should have a proactive hero--doesn't apply. The Pianist is based on the memoir of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a noted Polish classical pianist who survived the Holocaust. He made it through, not because of his ability to fight, but because of a fortunate string of accidents. Szpilman spent the length of the war in various closets and sealed-off flats; at one point in the film, he sleeps cramped in a cold fireplace, wedged in by a bookcase next to some live ammo and mortar shells. Wladyslaw has one strong characteristic. His solitude as a classical musician helps him--barely--to survive this nerve-racking isolation, particularly when he's like a ghost haunting a cleared-out city. The word "heroism" has no meaning in such a deadly situation. The moral of The Pianist is "God wants us to survive. At least that's what we have to tell ourselves" (The Pianist).
During the German blitz, Wladyslaw is recording Chopin for the Polish radio. A bomb blast breaks open the studio, signaling the arrival of the Nazis. The occupation begins with a series of nuisance laws and ends with the formation of an official ghetto on Halloween