The most famous, and arguably the greatest, of all the Italian neorealist films, Vittorio De Sica's THE BICYCLE THIEF is an extremely moving tale of a man's desperate search for his stolen bicycle.
Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani), an unemployed laborer, is offered a job putting up movie posters in Rome, which requires the use of his bicycle. On his first day on the job, however, Antonio's bike is stolen, and he chases the thief, but can't catch him. He sets out with his young son Bruno (Enzo
Staiola) to find the thief and his cherished bike.
Winner of an honorary Oscar for a foreign language film, THE BICYCLE THIEF is often hailed as the epitome of the neorealist movement--which utilized authentic locations, largely non-professional casts, and a quasi-documentary technique to depict realistic slices of everyday life--but it's actually very
professionally made in every respect. Although the two leads were amateurs, they both deliver superbly restrained performances. The lyrical, mournful music and poetic photography create an indelible sense of alienation and despair as the pair wander through the gloomy city, while the tightly
structured script ingeniously combines the overriding pathos with irony, some unexpected humor, and even mysticism (via the fortune-teller motif). While the story's main focus is on Antonio's quest, it's also the story of his search for dignity and self-respect in the eyes of his son, and the
terrible things that poverty does to children, a concern that De Sica dealt with in his other collaborations with writer Cesare Zavattini, including the haunting SHOESHINE(1946), and the delightful fantasy MIRACLE IN MILAN (1950). By the end, when Antonio and Bruno tearfully walk away and
disappear into the crowd, the problems of these "ordinary little people" have attained the force and universality of a Greek tragedy.
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- Review: The most famous, and arguably the greatest, of all the Italian neorealist films, Vittorio De Sica's THE BICYCLE THIEF is an extremely moving tale of a man's desperate search for his stolen bicycle. Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani), an unemployed laborer, is… (more)