Date: October 7, 2012 The Bicycle Thief (Ladri Di Biciclette) The Bicycle Thief (Italian: Ladri di biciclette) is Italian movie released in 24 Nov, 1948.Original translation of the Italian title gives name “Bicycle Thieves” but movie is released as“The Bicycle Thief” in United States, but in UK and in Criterion Collection in North America it’sreleased as “Bicycle Thieves”. Bicycle thief is the best example of Italian neorealism. He has shot on location (not instudio) and cast only untrained non-actors (Lamberto Maggiorani was a real factory worker).Maggiorani got opportunity to play after he brought his son to an audition for film. But later-on8 years old boy Enzo Staiola was casted when De Sica saw 8-years boy watching film productionand helping his father to sell flowers at the street. This movie has received Academy Honorary Award, 1950 and was deemed as thegreatest film of all time and ranked in sixth position among greatest-ever films by Sight SoundMagazine’s poll of filmmakers. It’s one of the top ten among the British Film Institute’s List ofthe fifty films you should see by the age of fourteen. Some other awards received by this movie are: Special Prize of the Jury, 1949 (Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland). Best Director, Best Film of Any Language, 1949 (National Board of Review, Italy). Best Foreign Language Film, Italy 1949 (New York Film Critics Circle Awards). Academy Awards: Nominated, Oscar, Best Writing, Screenplay, 1950. Golden Wolf for Best Film: 1950 (Bucharest Film Festival). BAFTA Award, Best Film from any Source, 1990 (British Academy of Film and Television Arts). Best European Film (Bedste europæiske film), 1950. Bodil Awards, Denmark. Golden Globe, Best Foreign Film, 1950 (Golden Globes). CEC Award, Best Foreign Film (cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain). Kinema Junpo Award, Best Foreign Language Film, 1951 (Kinema Junpo Awards, Japan, Tokiyo). Best Cinematography (Migliore Fotografia), Carlo Montuori. Best Director (Migliore Regia). Best Film (Miglior Film a Soggetto). Best Score (Miglior Commento Musicale), Alessandro Cicognini. Best Screenplay (Migliore Sceneggiatura), Cesare Zavattini, Vittorio De Sica, Suso Cecchi dAmico, Oreste Biancoli, Adolfo Franci, and Gerardo Guerrieri.
Best Story (Miglior Soggetto). The movie is about a poor father who is searching his stolen bicycle in post-World War IIRome to save his job which is only source to join his hand and mouth. This movie is based onthe novel by Luigi Bartolini which is produced by Cesare Zavattini and directed by Vittorio DeSica. In this movie Lamberto Maggiorani has played role of father Antonio Ricci and EnzoStaiola as his plucky young son Bruno Ricci. Lianella Carell has played role of Mrs. Maria Ricci,Antonio’s wife. Vittorio Antonucci appeared as thief who guides whole story.Movie Review. Whole movie revolves around a poor family of Antonio Ricci, who lives with his two sonsand a wife. After World War II, he has to seek a job that supports him to raise his family. In thecrowd of peoples, he got job but he needs to have a bicycle. He told it to his spouse afterreturning home. They sold their bed sheet and bought a bicycle. Now he could earn somemoney for his family. Antonio could leave his son to school and go to job. On his first day of job while he was atop a ladder to post movie posters on the wall, hisbicycle got snatched by young boy. He chased the boy, reported to police, told his friend to helphim to search his bicycle. Next day he, his son with his few friends went in search of his bicycle.They searched everywhere. Also in the Piazza Vittorio market, where stolen goods were sold,but they became unable to find. While they were losing hope to find the bicycle, luckily theyspot thief giving money to an old man in Porta Portese market. They became unable to catchthe thief. Then after he followed old man and asked about the boy that he was talking with.Initially that old man refused to tell but later-on after getting little money old man told wherethe boy is. Antonio and his son went to the location given by old man. They caught and inquiredhim. The boy acted like he was ill and become fainted. They were thrown off by the trail bythief’s confederation. Neighbors of the boy tried to beat Antonio for blaming him as thief andmaking him faint. Antonio’s son understood the situation and went to call police. After policehas arrived Antonio and police went inside the house of boy in search of bicycle but they wereunable to find even the parts of it. Police asked Antonio if he had any proof or witness. ButAntonio was unable to give proof or witness and police said that he could do nothing. Antonio returned back. After being sure he won’t find his bicycle, he planned to stealbicycle. So he gave streetcar fair to his son and told him to wait at Monte Sacro. But he didn’tbecome success to steal bicycle. The hue and cry is instantly raised and Bruno, who has missedthe streetcar, was stunned to see his father surrounded and pulled from the bike. The bicyclesowner slapped the hat from Antonios head. Antonio was being muscled toward the police
station when the owner noticed crying Bruno holding his fathers hand, who was carryingAntonios hat. The bicycle owner left him there without taking him to police station. Theywalked on slowly amid buffering crowd towards home.This is the story of the movie “The Bicycle Thief”. It intensely focuses in the life of working classand their behavior. The movie tries to show being thief is not an interest and supplies thepossible answer of the question ‘what makes a thief?’ The movie tries to show how a person isbounded by responsibilities of family and what s/he can do to fulfill those responsibilities. Tofulfill the responsibilities s/he has to good or bad job. Antonio’s’ son, Bruno’s’ role made film more interesting. He ran as fast as father andwalked whole days without eating anything. Bruno looking up at his father to see his stress andgrief and trying to learn what life is makes movies’ climax powerful. Viewers can see the climaxof the movie and grief of father through the eye of his son. Whereas expressing his interest onlearning new things by observing the parts of bicycle carefully and playing with it whilesearching bicycle in bicycle shop, looking to food eating by baby of millionaire and playing withhis food while eating represents his childish behavior. In one scene Bruno refused to buy toyswhile seller tries to grab his interest toward it. This scene makes us feel that boy hasunderstood the situation of his family. Also calling police while neighbor of a thief were going tobeat his father makes us easy to imagine how clever the boy is. Since Antonio is not a professional actor, we can easily predict lack of professionalism infew scenes. For an example after returning from search of his snatched bicycle just after it’sstolen, he sat on the ladder and show grief on his face. At that time he can’t express feeling ofgrief from inside. That grief seems artificial. But overall acting of him in movie is no doubt best.He became success to give justice to the role he played. But acting of son is more realistic thanthat of father in my view. Though whole movie makes viewer concentrated, few scenes make us more sensitive.While wife of Antonio visit to the psychiatric after buying bicycle, Antonio has to waitdownstairs. Later-on he asks his son to look after his bicycle and follow his wife. Viewers thinkthat his bicycle will be lost here but it doesn’t. While searching bicycle in the Piazza Vittoriomarket, where stolen goods were sold, one of the sellers refuse to show serial number ofbicycle he is painting. At this time some sorts of hope can be seen in the eyes of viewers. Butprediction becomes wrong. Such scenes make viewer more sensitive.Critiques made about films by others: While releasing this movie in Italy, it was viewed as hostility as it presented Italians innegative way. Italian critic Guido Aristarco praised it complaining that “sentimentality might at
time take the place of artistic emotions.” And Italian neorealist film director Luchino Viscontisaid that it was mistake to use professional actor to dub over Lamberto maggiorani’s dialogue Pierre Leprohon wrote in Cinéma DAujourd that "what must not be ignored on thesocial level is that the character is shown not at the beginning of a crisis but at its outcome. Oneneeds only to look at his face, his uncertain gait, his hesitant or fearful attitudes to understandthat Ricci is already a victim, a diminished man who has lost his confidence." Lotte Eisner calledit the best Italian film since World War II and Robert Winnington called it “the most successfulrecord of any foreign film in British Cinema.” Bosley Crowther, film critic for The New YorkTimes, wrote, “Again the Italians have sent us a brilliant and devastating film in Vittorio DeSica’s rueful drama of modern city life, The Bicycle Thief. Widely and fervently heralded bythose who had seen it abroad (where it already has won several prizes at various film festivals),this heart-tearing picture of frustration, which came to [the World Theater] yesterday, bids fairto fulfill all the forecasts of its absolute triumph over here. For once more the talented De Sica,who gave us the shattering Shoeshine, that desperately tragic demonstration of juvenilecorruption in post-war Rome, has laid hold upon and sharply imaged in simple and realisticterms a major—indeed, a fundamental and universal—dramatic theme. It is the isolation andloneliness of the little man in this complex social world that is ironically blessed with institutionsto comfort and protect mankind”. Bob Graham, staff film critic for the San Franscisco Chronicle, gave positive review: "Theroles are played by non-actors, Lamberto Maggiorani as the father and Enzo Staiola as thesolemn boy, who sometimes appears to be a miniature man. They bring a grave dignity to DeSicas unblinking view of post-war Italy. The wheel of life turns and grinds people down; theman who was riding high in the morning is brought low by nightfall. It is impossible to imaginethis story in any other form than De Sicas. The new black-and-white print has an extraordinaryrange of grey tones that get darker as life closes in". The movie is also in the Vatican’s Best Films List for portraying humanistic values. So though both positive and negative critics had been made about the film, no doubtthe movie is best. De Sica has done a great job to give his one of the best in his life. This movieproves to make good movie we don’t need to copy and cheat ideas of others. We have manystories in our locality which are enough to produce a good movie. Form this movie Nepalesemovie industries should learn lesson and search ideas and stories that prevails in our society.They not only touch our heart but also make our movies compete in international market. Buttheir standard should be maintained and should be in those languages which could beunderstood by everyone. We don’t lack stories but we lack research, idea, creativity andcapability in our movie industry. (This article has been written based on references taken from online and view madeafter watching movie by authors.)