Bicycle Thieves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Director : Vittorio De Sica
Cast : Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell
Language : Italian
Ladri di biciclette, Italian title for The Bicycle Thieves is written and directed by Vittorio De Sica is an Italian Neorealist film. I have to certainly mention that this director is an expert in this Neorealist kind of film making.Set in the post World War II economic crisis situation in Italy, tells the story about the family of an unemployed man Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani ) and strugle to get and hold on a job while the family faces financial assistance.
Antonio Ricci lives with his wife Maria Ricci (Lianella Carell) along with his two children’s. Bruno Ricci (Enzo Staiola) is his seven years old eldest son.When the post World War II economic crisis deepens it hits most of the families and Antonio Ricci’s is one among them.Antonio Ricci is an unemployed due to the crisis and searches for a job.Luckily Antonio gets one job offer as wall poster which desperately needed a bicycle.Antonio accepts the offer but unfortunately the bicycle he owns has been pawned, and to get it back needs some more money.Antonio’s wife Maria then pawns their beadsheets in order to get the required money.
Antonio happily goes to his job with his bicycle for the first day.One young robber steals Antonio’s bicycle while he is busy with his work on the street where the bicycle been kept nearby a wall . Antonio tries to catch the thief but couldn’t make it on the busy streets of Rome.Antonio complains to police but it’s of no use.He then along with his friend and his son Bruno goes to Rome’s largest square Piazza Vittorio,in search where there are lots of bicycle parts selling and bicycle making shops been present.
One day Antonio identifies the thief and tries to follow him till his home,but the thief been protected by the thief’s neighbores.Police too couldnt able to make any action as the case is weak and has no evidence.When there is a strict rule been there like “No Bicycle No Job” Antonio and his son loses hope and walks towards a crowded street where a match goes on nearby football stadium.Both father and son see a lot of bicycle been flying on the streets and several been parked.Without knowing what to do next Antonio came to see a bicycle been parked alone on a nearby street where the street been empty.
Antonio asks his son to catch a bus and wait for him on a different place. Antonio tries and steals the bicycle which has parked alone on the entrance wall of an apartment and tries to escape from the spot.The owner of the bicycle reaches out immediately and shouts to catch Antonio. Antonio been caught by the public and gets beaten by them as Bruno too witness the situation.When the public asks the owner what to do for Antonio , he tells them to handover him to police.Bruno comes near to his father Antonio on the spot, by seeing Bruno’s worried state the owner asks the public to let Antonio leave as he suffered for his act already.Antonio then realizes and feels for his guilt and walks along with his son on the crowded streets.Bruno holds his father’s hand to comfort him and the film ends.
I was deeply moved by the film till before the end.As i love and wish to watch always a happy ending one or a positive kind of stuff at the end or on the whole.Its rare to watch those along with the quality.But for some great movies and for some legendary directors whom tries to explore real life characters and to create impact on what they wish to present the audience to think about certain realities, we can’t expect our own tastes to get fulfilled all the times.Bruno performance as young son is so matured.The screenpay and the direction by Vittorio De Sica is a master piece one to say.Its beyond the words of praising and wondering such kind of movies as it was released on 1948.I still wonder the quality and beauty of film making.
Awards and Honours:
* Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland: Special Prize of the Jury, Vittorio De Sica; 1949.
* National Board of Review: NBR Award, Best Director, Vittorio De Sica; Best Film (Any Language), Italy; 1949.
* New York Film Critics Circle Awards: NYFCC Award, Best Foreign Language Film, Italy; 1949.
* Academy Awards: Honorary Award, Italy. Voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1949; 1950.
* Academy Awards: Nominated, Oscar, Best Writing, Screenplay, Cesare Zavattini; 1950.
* Bucharest Film Festival: Golden Wolf for Best Film; 1950.
* British Academy of Film and Television Arts: BAFTA Film Award, Best Film from any Source; 1950.
* Bodil Awards, Copenhagen, Denmark: Bodil, Best European Film (Bedste europæiske film), Vittorio De Sica; 1950.
* Golden Globes: Golden Globe, Best Foreign Film, Italy; 1950.
* Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain: CEC Award, Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera), Italy; 1951.
* Kinema Junpo Awards, Tokyo, Japan: Kinema Junpo Award, Best Foreign Language Film, Vittorio De Sica; 1951.
* Best Cinematography (Migliore Fotografia), Carlo Montuori.
* Best Director (Migliore Regia), Vittorio De Sica.
* Best Film (Miglior Film a Soggetto).
* Best Score (Miglior Commento Musicale), Alessandro Cicognini.
* Best Screenplay (Migliore Sceneggiatura), Cesare Zavattini, Vittorio De Sica, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Oreste Biancoli, Adolfo Franci, and Gerardo Guerrieri.
* Best Story (Miglior Soggetto), Cesare Zavattini.