Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Vittorio De Sica's remarkable drama of desperation and survival in Italy's devastating post-war depression earned a special Oscar for its affecting power. Shot in the streets and alleys of Rome, De Sica uses the real-life environment of contemporary life to frame his moving tale of a desperate father whose new job delivering cinema posters is threatened when a street thief steals his bicycle. Too poor to buy another, he and his son take to the streets in an impossible search for his bike. Cast with nonactors and filled with the real street life of Rome, this landmark film helped define the Italian neorealist approach with its mix of real life details, poetic imagery, and warm sentimentality. The film director uses the wandering pair to witness the lives of everyday folks. Ultimately De Sica paints a quiet, poignant portrait of father and son, played by nonprofessionals Lamberto Maggiorani and Enzo Staiola, whose understated performances carry the heart of the film.
This film is adapted for the screen from a novel by Luigi Bartolini. The film's original Italian title is Ladri de biciclette--the film is sometimes known in the United States as The Bicycle Thief. Watch for the film's final shot of Antonio and Bruno walking away from the camera into the distance . . . an homage to many Charlie Chaplin films, who was De Sica's favourite filmmaker.
Note: THIS FILM HAS SUBTITLES: the film is in Italian, with English subtitles.
Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Elena Altieri, and Gino Saltamerenda
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Runtime: 1 hour 29 minutes
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