On the stairs, the shadows from the railing look eerily like the bars in a prison cell.
Trelkovsky is carrying two waste baskets of trash, while wearing a set of pajamas that look similar to what Jews wore in the concentration camps.
Trelkovsky, a Polish Jew living in France, has taken a tiny two-room apartment in Paris, which became vacant after the previous tenant, a young woman named Simone Choule, threw herself out the window. Trelkovsky desperately needs the apartment, and now he’s increasingly paranoid about losing it.
His mostly elderly neighbors complain constantly about noise. After a housewarming party that draws harsh complaints from neighbors and the landlord alike, Trelkovsky is sneaking down the stairs to get rid of the trash that had piled up during the party. On the way down, he spills some of it on the stairs. But when he comes back to retrieve it, the trash is gone … mysteriously.