Ladri di biciclette
Ladri di biciclette or The Bicycle Thieves was directed by Vittorio De Sica in 1948. It tells the story of a man trying to provide for his family in post war Italy, shortly after the Nazi’s retreated, leaving the country in economic depression.
The story begins with the father getting a job over his fellows on the basis that he has a bicycle, however shortly after starting this job someone steals his bicycle and he embarks on a quest to retrieve it. De Sica directed this film in the style of Italian Neo-Realism, a movement began by Roberto Rossellini which attempted to give a fuller degree of realism to film using only real location shooting, non professional actors and a more realistic portrayal of life in its easy and difficult if mundane times.
As fun as Neo-realistic films tend to be, and as beautifully shot and edited as the Bicycle Thieves was, I think it is a film to be watched once as I have always felt that TV land is watched to escape ones own reality, however the Bicycle Thieves has no happy ending, in fact it has no real ending at all, the last thing seen by the audience on-screen is the father and son walking away without hope, having not found their bicycle and having no way of earning money. The story is not ended it is simply a statement on how life does not end until death, and how you must find a way to survive even if there is little hope in providing for your family – not exactly my idea of a fun family movie.
I understand what De Sica and others of this movement where trying to do with Neo-Realism, however as an entertainment form I cannot think of many other subjects that appeal less to me than a family starving and the father being unable to do anything about it, especially after his only chance of work has been stolen by someone else in his position.