Bicycle Thieves

Bicycle Thieves ★★★★½

“Why should I kill my myself worrying when I’ll end up just as dead anyway?”

Legend has it Antonio Ricci went on to invent the D-lock...

Seriously though, there is so much to be said about this masterpiece of Italian neorealism, so much of which has been said before by people far more learned on the subject than I. I will however jot down some of the thought I had whilst watching.

The ironic contrast between Hollywood cinema and the realism of Bicycle Thieves is so starkly projected as we see an amateur actor playing an impoverished Everyman pasting up posters of a glamorous movie star playing a glamorous movie star. This movement in cinema allows ordinary people to feel a true connection to the characters and situations onscreen.

Staiola is brilliant as Bruno, perfectly capturing that tendency of children of poverty to act like miniature adults. In many ways, he is more responsible than his own father, yet his face is still almost constantly upturned to his in innate admiration, despite the dangers their relationship poses.

The very title of the film helps build the tension in the first part as the bicycle is left unattended several times before the inevitable finally happens.

Lastly, because as I have said, most of these things have been said before much more eloquently, that shot of the pawnbroker climbing the towering shelves of possessions is so powerful and etched on my brain forever.

P.S. Rome on film is always an absolute pleasure to behold.