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.


  1. Feedback for blog post:


    Some of the points that you touch on could use a little more support. For example, "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," is a fine point, but I think it would be served by a reputable sounding source of some sort. I'm sure you can find information to flesh out this idea.


    You demonstrated a solid understanding of the film and the movement, and communicated pretty effectively what they were about.


    There are grammatical errors throughout which detract from the points you are trying to make. Also, about half of the blog post is an explanation of the plot of the film, and you'd be well served to use some of that space to discuss the ways in which the film is related to the movement.

    Always italicize movie titles.

    Hit the 400 word mark. It's running 385 right now.


    The suggestions are implied above. Good job Aaron. We missed you today.

  2. I think you could work on your sentence structure and creating full thoughts for example: Mr. Ricci, who is a poor man who is just trying to make ends meet. This sentence seems to be cut very short.

    It would really help to separate your paragraphs into smaller sections to make it easier to read.

    I want to hear more about the film techniques of this era and how The Bicycle Thieves implemented these techniques.

    You do a nice job with discussing the story, but I think you could cut it a little shorter.

    I also like your statement on the significance of the ending of the film.

  3. Concerns: I kind of wished that there was more on the technique of the film, rather than the plot of the film. I also think the information is too dense, and rushed. I'd prefer it if the information was spread out, rather than two dense paragraphs.

  4. CLARIFY: It seems like your whole first paragraph is more informational about the film and what it's about, rather than trying to prove a direct thesis.

    How did the movement make a lasting impact on films all over the world? I don't disagree with this, but you don't prove your point with an example.

    VALUE: You give a good summary of the film, which I think is important to help a reader who has never seen the film. You bring up several important aspects of the Italian Neorealism movement.

    CONCERNS: Your post is under 400 words, not terribly under, but still under. But more importantly you don't really write critical analysis and prove a thesis. You give us a summary of the film, then you tell us about the movement. You don't give us examples from the film and explain how they exemplify the movement. It seems like your main points would be that it has a more unrealistic and unhappy ending, it uses locations to make it feel more real, and it uses untrained actors to make it more real. Each of those points should have their own paragraph and should include specific examples from the movie or more to back it up (which can be from the reading - you can quote from your source, so long as you indicate that).

    My suggestion for revision is to actually cut down your summary - make it only a sentence or two - so then as you bring up each "aspect" of Neorealism (real locations, non-trained actors) you can bring up an example of the film and fully describe it to help explain the movement.

    You need to have a clearly defined thesis right at the start. But don't be afraid to make this post have your own voice to it - you don't have to make it dry and boring.

    You should read through a couple other people's blog posts to get an idea of what they've done and how they approached it, and revise your piece based on the feedback you receive in these comments. Rather than revising this post please write a NEW BLOG POST as a revision - DON'T ERASE THIS BLOG POST. I want to be able to look at the original and the revision.