The Bicycle Thieves or in its Italian name, Ladri di bicicilette is a film directed by Vittorio de Sica in 1948. This film is also adapted from a novel of the same title by Luigi Bartolini. The Bicycle Thieves is one of the most prominent Italian Neorealism film that has ever produced.
In most countries that is a part of the WW2, used films as part of their propaganda as it is one of the easiest way for the government to ‘brainwashed’ the people. As of Italian Neorealism, it obviously began in Italy. A result of the World War II. In Italian Neorealism, it focused on telling stories that happened on the present days, rather than back-dating to previous years. Besides, the genre concentrated more on the lives of the lower class people rather than the nobilities. (Hayward, 2013) Most filmmakers that did films under Italian Neorealism were those who were opposing their government by wanting to show to a vast audience on the real lives of the people who were affected by the war. That is their main goal in producing an Italian Neorealism film. Besides, in Italian Neorealism film, there were no storyline as the actors that were picked to act in their films were social actors, meaning that they were not professionally-trained actors. This enabled the directors to capture the real hardship of the lives of these people. Since there was no storyline, there was no dialogue being given either. Moreover, on-location shooting was the choice of setting rather than working in a studio. The reason for this was so that the filmmakers could capture a grainy kind of effects that looks more realistic thus, got to enhance the realism of their film.
The story was about the hardship of a man named Antonio who was in a desperate need for a job but because he needed a job that pays better, he needed a bicycle. Thus, his wife gave him all of their bed linens to be pawned off so that he could get himself a bicycle. However, the bicycle was stolen and so, Antonio and his son, Bruno went out and about in search of their bicycle.
Just like how an Italian Neorealism film works, Bicycle Thieves is one of the best example film that represent Italian Neorealism. The setting was done after the war. It could be seen from the place where Antonio and his family lives. There was less to none trees or other plants due to the destruction from the war. We could also see that the city was being rebuilt from the emergence of new buildings.
People were in need of a job to support themselves and their families and most job that were offered paid too little for them to even get anything to bring back home for the day. Besides, in a scene where Antonio wanted to pawn off his bed sheets to get a bicycle, there were a lot of people crowding the place. Pawning off every little thing they have to survive. Not only that, Bruno was seeing working at a very early age so that he could help lessen the burden of his family.
The film reminds me of another film but of different era. Children of Heaven, where the father went to the big city with his son and both of them were in awed to see the housing areas of the rich people. This could be seen when Antonio and Bruno went to the city to find their lost bicycle. The city looked as if it was not affected by the war as there were functional roads and vast buildings as well as transportations and telephone booths.
The ending of the film is quite depressing but then again, not everything that happens in real lives end happily and this was the goal that the filmmakers were hoping to reach. Antonio was getting very desperate in wanting his bicycles back and made a decision to try to steal off another person’s bicycle but his attempt to do so failed miserably when he almost got caught of doing so. The desperation that these people had to go through in order to survive is very heart-breaking.
This film depicts well of the effect after war. However, Italian Neorealism did not last long in the film market as people do not need to watch more despair films.