Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette) (BFI Film Classics) by Robert S. C. Gordon

By Robert S. C. Gordon

Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette) Vittorio de Sica, 1948 is unarguably one of many primary motion pictures within the historical past of cinema.  it's also some of the most beguiling, relocating and (apparently) uncomplicated items of narrative cinema ever made. The movie tells the tale of 1 guy and his son, as they seek fruitlessly throughout the streets of Rome for his stolen bicycle; the bicycle which had eventually freed him from the poverty and humiliation of longterm unemployment. 

One of a cluster of notable movies to return out of post-war, post-Fascist Italy after 1945 – loosely labelled ‘neo-realist’ – Bicycle Thieves received an Oscar in 1949, crowned the 1st Sight and Sound ballot of the easiest movies of all time in 1952 and has been highly influential all through international cinema ever since.  It is still an important aspect of reference for any cinematic engagement with the labyrinthine event of the fashionable urban, the travails of poverty within the modern international, the advanced bond among fathers and sons, and the capability of the digital camera to seize whatever just like the essence of all of these. 

Robert S. C. Gordon’s BFI movie Classics quantity indicates how Bicycle Thieves is ripe for re-viewing, for rescuing from its helpful prestige as a neo-realist ‘classic’. It appears on the film’s drawn-out making plans and construction heritage, the colourful and riven context within which it was once made, and the dynamic geography, geometry and sociology of the movie that resulted. 

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The latter too is peppered with icons and objects that mix religion and family, showing the persistence of old-world cultures of superstition and ritual (saints, but also a horseshoe hanging on the back of the front door) even in this modern setting, even in this (we surmise) Communist family. And the wide social spectrum of La Santona's clients - young and old, poorer and richer; the police marshal, and so on - tells us that certain rituals and beliefs, and social needs, cut across class divisions.

The very richness and complexity of the world is also, however; a source of deep disorientation for Antonio, evidence of the immense difficulty of living in this changing society in which networks of relations are . unstable and directions unsure, of navigating not only the city but also the spaces, rituals and practices that tie it to its people and ta their lives. It may seem odd that we have not yet focused directly on the heart of Bicycle Thieves, on its emotional hook. What audiences found (and find) so compelling about the film were its powerfully moving life stories, its p1Otagonists' psychologies, fee1ings, motivations.

Y working-class) Rome, Sunday is not a leisure day at all, but another day of labour. ing negotium of the city and its economy at work Visions of leisure time in Bicycle Thieves centre on sport, (hints of) sex, eating, music and cinema" The great closing sequence is staged against the backdrop of the Sunday 'Serie N football match between Roma and Modena 57 with tens of thousands of (workingclass, male) fans cheering and then pouring out into the square . The Sunday sporting cyclists who flash by in front of Antonio and Bruno are a glimpse of the other great mass-participation sport in mid-twentieth-century Italy..

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