Thursday, March 11, 2010

“The Bicycle Thief”

This film is on virtually every critic’s all-time best list. It’s required viewing at film schools around the world. And if that’s not enough, Martin Scorcese himself recommends it his documentary/Italian film history lesson “My Voyage to Italy.” (trailer here) “The Bicycle Thief” is Vittorio De Sica’s landmark film that captures the desperation in Italy following World War II. It’s a simple story, told well: after a long period without work Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani) finally lands a job that requires a bicycle. His wife, Maria (Lianella Carell) sells their bed sheets to get Antonio’s bicycle out of hock and on the first day of work, it’s stolen. Antonio spends the rest of the film searching around Rome for the bicycle with his son Bruno (Enzo Staiola). There are some light moments between the two of them, but the tone of the movie turns darker as Antonio realizes that the bicycle, and his hopes for a “normal” life may never be recovered. Which is the source of my Tweet: The Bicycle Thief-Lamberto Maggiorani’s last glimmer of hope vanishes when he learns an important lesson about the value of a bike lock. 10 (out of 10)

Note: For those who shy away from foreign films because of the subtitles, I can still recommend “The Bicycle Thief.” The acting is superb and the film tells its story with the actors’ faces and in their gestures. I bet you could even turn off the sound and captions and still get the story. It’s that good.

“The Bicycle Thief”

Released: 1948

Rating: NR

Length: 90 minutes

Cast: Lamberto Maggiorani, Lianella Carell, Enzo Staiola, Elena Altieri

Director: Vittorio De Sica

Genre(s): Drama, Adaptation

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