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The Lost movie of the week: Ladri di biciclette (1948)

We decided to dive in again into Italian Neorealism with this masterpiece from Vittorio De Sica. This movies takes a look at post-war Italy and paint a pretty dim picture of the situation.

Ricci, an unemployed man in the depressed post-WWII economy of Italy, gets at last a good job – for which he needs a bike – hanging up posters. But soon his bicycle is stolen. He and his son walk the streets of Rome, looking for the bicycle. Ricci finally manages to locate the thief but with no proof, he has to abandon his cause. But he and his son know perfectly well that without a bike, Ricci won’t be able to keep his job. (IMDB)

Vittorio De Sica (“Matrimonio all’italiana”,” Ieri oggi domain”) created, together with Roberto Rossellini, the foundation of Italian Neorealism. The story is simple: a man needs the bicycle the keep his job and with that premise he makes a powerful film.  Taking his inspiration in the everyday life of normal people and choosing as main actor a non-professional actor. Poverty is shown not in contrast with big wealth or luxury but as a continuing cycle in which everyone is stuck in. A powerful film, directing his actors as they were real people facing their problems with no escapism with causes the film to be very hard but still very beautiful. The beautiful, but painfully relation between father and son is at the heart of the film.

Lamberto Maggiorani, Lianella Carelli and Enzo Staiola act in it without professional background and they are very credible in their role. A nice touch by De Sica, who was a famous actor himself.

The film received an Honorary Award from the Academy Awards and was also nominated in 1950 for the Oscar, Best Writing, Screenplay; Cesare Zavattini.

Stanley Berenboom

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