Movie of the Week: Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Vittorio De Sica directs Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola and Lianella Carell in this Italian neo-realist classic about an unemployed father whose one chance of retaining a new job is finding his stolen bicycle.

One of the indisputable greats of cinema, I’d struggle to find anything new to say. De Sica establishes the importance of the quest, the hopelessness of the struggle and the callous indifference of society to one man’s basic needs. A family’s entire future can hang by a thread over one stupid bicycle… an object so insignificant that outsiders cannot take the desperate search seriously. The drama conjured up from this is distressing but prosecutorial, the imagery spellbinding. We are lost in a working, bustling, endless Rome… nearly every shot, mockingly populated with other bicycles. Instead we trudge through false hope and humiliation with a good but distracted father and his cute son. A marathon of frustrating indignities and dead ends. By the FIN credits we only have a pessimistic idea of their fate. Heartbreaking and didactic in all the right ways.

10

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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