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Bicycle Thieves

Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica 1948)

A perfect film for me. It's so well made that it flows effortlessly and the pieces, the individual scenes, they all fit seamlessly. I felt like I was right there in the story and that's a feeling I don't get from many films.

Perhaps it was the actors that sold me on the film. The actor who played the father was very much in the moment. Without words he could express his emotions. His angst at having his bicycle stolen which meant losing his job, was palatable. There was no doubt in my mind just how life changing the loss of his bike and job was to him. Then there's his son. Wow, talk about a good kid actor! He doesn't really have many lines, but through the range of emotions that play out on his young face, I could see the desperation of his family in post war Italy. I especially liked the dynamic between the father and the boy and how at times the spacial distance between them grew as tensions rose.

I often love Italian films as they're so full of life, even if the subject matter is depressing or dark, the films themselves are alive with the movement of life.

I think the director did an amazing job making a simple story seem so personal. Of course this isn't just a story of a stolen bicycle, it's an expose on the hardships faced by the Italians immediately following the end of World War II. We see wide spread poverty with the people fighting for jobs and pawning what few positions they own just so they can have a meal. We see how people cope with the collapse of the economy and it ranges from criminal behavior to charlatanism to prostitution and to standing in long lines for some soup and bread.

I'm impressed with Bicycle Thieves.