The 30s-60s of world cinema had a wave of films which ultra-romanticised the working class: Metropolis, Charlie Chaplin’s films, Satyajit Ray’s films, mother India, mouchette, man with a movie camera etc. So did Italian cinema: bicycle thieves. I love how tragedy has been depicted with such irony!
With this captivating and also uncomfortable portrait of post-war social reality Vittorio De Sica delivered a timeless masterpiece and one of the best films of Italian neorealistic cinema. Cinematography, dramaturgy and storytelling are still stunning, In addition, Alessandro Cicognini wrote one of his strongest scores for the movie.
La grande simplicité dramatique de ce film repose à la fois sur la force de la banalité morale de son propos, le magnétisme incroyable des acteurs et ce mélange de plans entre ampleur et intimisme. On pense à Chaplin sans l'humour et avec plus d'engagement de la part de De Sica, qui signe une merveilleuse ode à la résignation des démunis.
My, I found this film absolutely, remorselessly, mind-numbingly boring. I'm sure it's an essential classic - but just...man was I disappointed. It's the Italian version of that all too real, hard-core miserablist kitchen-sink drama. The 'ending', which I'm sure drives grown men to tears - made me laugh, and not even that much.
4.5 stars. Less realist and more fabulist that its designation as 'neorealist' would imply, but the two central performances are so emotionally convincing that you only feel whatsoever manipulated in retrospect [in this way, it reminds me of Ghibli's 'Grave of the Fireflies']. I wonder if it's an especially male thing to do, but I couldn't help but read my relationship with my own dad into the film. Weepily sincere.
Its rudimentary plot functions as a phenomenological act of disclosing the essence of human existence in a masterfuly lit and photographed (re)presentation of the human world itself. Human solitude is effortlessly suspended in De Sica's superlative sense of motility, which captures the deeper and fundamental solidarity between humans as well as the painful realization that this may no longer exist. Sheer masterpiece!
Like a shaggy dog version of Kurosawa's 'Stray Dog', 'Bicycle Thieves' is an understated articulation of issues accompanying life in Italy's post-war economic depression. It also reminds me a bit of 'M' in the way it lays out why someone could completely and utterly fail to overcome the criminal element in a crowded city. I can see why it meant so much to the Italian neorealist movement.
A thoughtful, kind-hearted, deeply compassionate movie about the plight of the common man that is also, well, kinda boring. It has some really nice moments but a lot of it feels a bit flat to me, lacking that certain punch or panache it needed to win me over. A movie I can respect, while not especially enjoying. It gets a B-.
Quite simply a masterpiece in every way. The acting is heart aching and beautiful and one believes this is life itself. So wonderfully shot and tenderly put together, this film left me speechless. Its enduring power owes much to the father and son relationship, one which is unparalleled and rarely explored and treated as tenderly as it is here. My heart was breaking at the finale, and a little broken still.