Vittorio De Sica
4 Stars out of 4
Bicycle Thieves is a simple masterpiece. To bloat it into a film of big messages, learned-transforming characters, and schematic symbolism would minimize its power. It was released in 1948, by a well-respected director, Vittorio De Sica, most notable for his Chaplinesque comedies. To see Bicycle Thieves then would be a jolting wake up call – it was for De Sica. It defines 1940s Italy as a highly populated tragedy. Sometimes all we have are our cherished possessions. Cue the bicycle.
It was written by a venerable Italian wordsmith – Cesare Zavattini – and starred an amateur – Lamberto Maggiorani, playing the hustling and bustling Ricci, working with a regular queue. This is a story about a man’s transition from loss of property to loss of awareness to loss of happiness to loss of dignity. In case you do not get it, he loses everything. It is a frightening thought for 1948, even though Europe had just been through a cataclysm that did quite just that. (continue reading…)