Vittorio de Sica: Bicycle Thieves
A tragicomic tale of obsession Italian poverty, The Bicycle Thieves is Vittorio de Sica's best known work – a canonical example of Italian neo realist cinema, The Bicycle Thieves is perhaps truest representation of de Sica's modus operandi.
The film follows Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani), his wife Maria (Lianella Carell) and his young son Bruno (Enzo Staiola), who are wavering on the brink of poverty when Ricci finds employment. When his newly repurchased bicycle – an essential for his work – goes missing, he and Bruno go in pursuit of their elusive thieves to try to track down the stolen bicycle. A needle-in-a-haystack tale of a man's unrelenting pursuit of justice, the film reads like a parable for post-war Italian society.
De Sica's film did not employ professional actors, but instead took real people. With its startlingly naturalistic undertone, the film marked a new experience for de Sica's contemporary audiences. His characters, unwavering in their pursuit of survival and personal goals, are unable to possess the capacity fail to learn from their errors: the film's greatest tension is Ricci's inability to acknowledge his own skewed priorities and inability to compromise.
The film's successes are in the realist vision de Sica creates. As impoverished peers cluster around the family and distract from the task at hand, the Bicycle Thieves unfolds in a broad vision of Italian society, human encounter and social interaction lie at the film's core.
Simple, direct and powerful, the Bicycle Thieves' message feels very much alive today.
The BFI will be hosting a long run of The Bicycle Thieves. Click here to buy BFI festival tickets for the season.
Looking for more?
Read our selection of films in the Vittorio de Sica retrospective
|What||The Bicycle Thieves, Vittorio de Sica BFI Film Season|
|Where||BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, Southbank, London, SE1 8XT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
01 Aug 15 – 31 Aug 15, 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book via the BFI website.|