Language : Italian
Directed by Vittorio De Sica
What is pure cinema?…A script which seems like zero fiction – A camera which moves at the pace of the naked eye – Dialogue which cannot be separated from the real outdoors – in short it is Vittorio De Sica’s ‘Bicycle Thieves’.
Antonio Ricci is an unemployed family man in desperate need of a job when he gets employed at a poster company. His job is to collect the posters from the office every morning and paste them on the walls of an Italian town. He needs a bicycle for the job which the family gets back from the pawnbroker after pledging the wife’s (Maria) jewelery.
Set in the time of post World War 2 a lot of social barriers and customaries of the Italian society are portrayed with unbelievable class by the makers. Antonio’s bike gets stolen on his first day at work. The rest of the movie is, listen carefully – him searching for his bike.
The tag of neo-realistic cinema is most evident from the movie’s ‘never fluctuating’ pace. Whatever happens through the movie, the movie’s score, screenplay and camera keep it at real time and never goes into overdrive.
But one has to go back in time and watch this movie. Otherwise it might seem like a joke to the average 21st century movie watcher. In particular the scenes where Antonio goes to bicycle market on the hunt for his bike’s probably detached parts and the church mass.
The father-son eat out is one scene which has in it all the happiness of the common man. The way Antonio taps to the beats of the orchestra in the wealthy man’s restaurant and Bruno‘s (his son) frequent stares at the rich boy’s table behind them proves to the viewer the magic cinema can weave around us and it is my moment of the film.
There is a scene where Antonio gets a hold of the thief but is left helpless because of lack of evidence which again is not overdone, which is the film’s splendor in creating an authentic true to the world situation of what man had done to his own society. The film’s last scene which would be better if unrevealed is the scene which had won this film an honorary Oscar.
Get the DVD; watch it alone with your headset on. You’ll love it. 3 cheers to ‘De Sica’.