← Back to Reviews

Bicycle Thieves

Bicycle Thieves (1948) - Directed by Vittorio De Sica

"There's a cure for everything except death."

The cinematic movement known as Italian neorealism is a social statement. Intentionally neglecting the conventionalities of big-name actors (with a few exceptions like Europe 51'), Italian neorealism showcases povertous (a word I made up meaning, “full of poverty) post-World War II Italy and bases itself on the realistic drama of the civilians.

Because this entire movement makes a point of replacing Hollywood panache a simple realistic outlook (hence the latter half of the name), it's only fair that this film be judged by realism and impact. This is something I taught myself twenty-five minutes into Bicycle Thieves, a 1948 film that's arguably the most famous film of the movement.

Bicycle Thieves is the heartbreaking story of a jobless man who buys back his pawned bicycle to get a job hanging posters. But when his bike is stolen, he goes all over Italy to find it.

This look deep into the world of post-war Italy doesn't bass itself on https://assets.mubi.com/images/noteb...disease-ridden hobos and scrap-scraping animals. This is about those who journey into the attempted accomplishments humans put themselves through and how they affect others. Watching the realistic “society” of post-war Italy unfold was something I've never really seen a movie focus on. It hadded a huge amount of realism to a movie that carries a goal of staying realistic.

And the characters themselves were not built on character development, since the film was really one man's search for his bike. We got to see the world through his eyes, feeling for him while feeling his emotions. From front to back, Bicycle Thieves was like living the man's life for a little while.

Don't watch this movie if you want a great adventure or dadaist-level art. Watch it if you want to feel human. That's what Italian neorealism is: it's the humanity of a man going through a time when humans need to and can be only that: human.