The Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica – 1948)


Arguably the best Italian neorealist film ever made and certainly one in the upper echelon of world cinema, The Bicycle Thieves is a classic in the truest sense of the word. Italian neorealism was a post WWII film movement, which used location shooting, non-professional actors and dealt with the hard economic conditions of the working class during this time.

A poor family man, at the end of his tether, finally finds a job putting up posters in the days immediately after the end of World War II. The job, however, requires a bicycle and as the family have nothing of value left, they decide to pawn their bed sheets in order to be able to buy a bicycle. On the first day of the job, the bicycle is stolen which starts a frantic search by the father and his young son through the streets of Rome, attempting to find their sole means of survival.


The film works on many levels: as a document of its era, as a sentimental drama, as clear social commentary and as a prime example of the neorealist movement; which was born out of necessity in post-WWII in Italy as there were simply no means to make movies. Filmmakers were forced to tell simple stories dealing with the after-effects of the war on ordinary poor people, whilst shooting on location and with non-professional actors. This movie received the Oscar for Best Foreign Film seven years before they officially came up with that category; it’s that good!




About Der Landstreicher

Ιδού η αληθινή Ταϊτή, δηλαδή: πιστά πλασμένη με τη φαντασία μου. (Πολ Γκογκέν και Σαρλ Μορίς)............... Είμαστε εμείς οι ονειροπαρμένοι τρελλοί της γης με τη φλογισμένη καρδιά και τα έξαλλα μάτια. (Γιώργος Μακρής).............. Und wollt ihr wissen, wer ich bin, ich weiß es selber nicht, ich irre so durchs Leben hin, weiß nicht, wo ich zu Hause bin und will es wissen nicht. (Landstreicherlied, Arnold Waldwagner)...........

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