Thursday, November 14, 2013
The Bicycle Thief by Aaron Russell
Made in the Italian Neorealism era, The Bicycle Thief is hailed as one of the best foreign films ever made. The protagonist, Mr. Ricci is a poor man who is just trying to make ends meet. He has almost lost everything to begin with and is forced to sacrifice a little more in order to buy a bike for work. He gets his bike and gets his job. A job that would allow him to get his family back on their feet. However his luck runs a little lower when an unknown thief robs him of his bike. So he and his son set out on a journey to find the bike. They spend a whole day hunting for clues, and begging for help from whoever is willing. While he is on this hunt, he angers many people. He gets more and more desperate as the day goes on, leaving him getting more frustrated and more apt to making rash choices. His relationship with his son is tested as well as his relationships with his neighborhood. After searching all day with no luck, he breaks and tries to rob a bike. He gets caught though and is shamed in front of his son. His luck doesn't get better though and the movie ends he's caught and he doesn't achieve his goal of finding his bike.
The ending isn't the happiest ending in the history of film, but that is just part of the style. The Italian neorealism films where typically a little more depressing both in setting and emotional vibe. The Bicycle Thief is a perfect example of this. For instance, the depressing ending. A common characteristic of this film era was that the protagonist didn't always get what he wanted.
These films were shot almost exclusively on location in these more run down cities and some rural areas to depict the "post war" setting. The topic was mainly set around the lower class and what living was like for them. It's because of this that most of the actors in these films where common working people. The filmmakers wanted a more self conscience vibe from the actors so that their struggles seemed more realistic. A trend that paid of greatly in the long run because the it made the emotion so much more raw and the struggles so much more apparent. The history of Italian cinema was dominated by this technique of filmmaking. It's impact, as well as the impact of the French New Wave films had a lasting impact on films all over the world.