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The bicycle Thieves - Essay Example

It should be clarified that the movement began not to highlight the economic decline that followed World War II but because of it. The film-making industry suffered in particular – by the conversion of studios in to military and refugee camps, the lack of equipment and the unreliability of the electrical supply. This lead to the production of films shot strictly on location, capturing the war-ravaged sights of post-war Italy – and focusing on a more honest portrayal of real lives and real people. Neo-realist filmmakers believed that cinema had moral repercussions and should thus be manipulated carefully to draw attention towards some truths. ‘The Bicycle Thieves’, in keeping with traditional neo-realist films casts non-professional actors in lead roles. Indeed, the protagonist of the movie, Antonio Ricci, was played by Lamberto Maggiorani, a worker himself. The character Antonia Ricci is shown to have been unemployed for almost two years at the start of the film before he is offered a job – the sole requirement of which is the possession of a bicycle. Despite knowing that he does not own one, Ricci takes up the job of putting up movies posters around town. His wife, Maria, pawns linen bed-sheets that were a part of her dowry in exchange for money to buy a bicycle. On their way home, his wife stops at an old building, claiming to meet someone. However, Antonio discovers that Maria is actually there to give money to a clairvoyant who predicted that he would get a job soon. Ricci mocks her and tells her off for being superstitious. The next day, as Antonio sets out for work, a young man steals his bicycle while his back is turned and takes off with it. Antonio pursues him frenetically until he loses track of him. He goes to the police to enlist their help but discovers that there is not much they can do. In despair, Antonio takes to walking the streets and scouting marketplaces with his son, Bruno, and his friends in search of his bicycle. Their search leads them to many places and to falsely accusing a man of possessing the stolen bicycle. However, after vainly attempting to find it, they give up. At this point, Antonio decides to treat his son to dinner at a restaurant. The scene that follows is pivotal to the theme of the movie. While Antonio and Bruno are enjoying their meal, Bruno keeps turning around to look at another seemingly wealthier family dining at a table nearby. He exchanges glances with a boy his own age seated at this table. Antonio notices this, and exclaims with frustration ‘To eat like that, you’d have to earn at least a million a month.’ Antonio and Bruno, in the throes of their despair, go to see the clairvoyant that Antonio had mocked earlier on. It is interesting to note that when faced with the prospect of poverty, Ricci turns to the same superstitions he derided his wife for believing in while when at the start of the film, shortly after the acquisition of his bicycle and a job, he believes them to be associated with irrationality and thus baseless. The clairvoyant gives Ricci vague and unhelpful advice, telling him that he would either find his bicycle today o not at all. Dismayed, Bruno and Antonio leave the building. Soon after, however, they spot the thief who had stolen his bicycle. They chase him down, but are surrounded by hostile neighbors. Bruno discreetly slips away to find a policeman while Antonio accuses the thief of having ...Show more


The Bicycle Thieves The subject of this paper is the Italian neo-realist film, ‘The Bicycle Thieves’ (‘Ladri Di Bibiclette’) directed by Vittorio De Sica. It has been chosen for its powerful depiction of a life endured in poverty and the moral conflicts that afflict the protagonist in his struggle to provide for his family…
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The bicycle Thieves essay example
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