Bicycle Thieves

In this post-World War II Italian Neorealism film, we follow Antonio Ricci, a husband and father of two, on his quest to retrieve his stolen bicycle so he doesn’t lose his job. This 1948 film does a wonderful job of evoking feelings of empathy towards the protagonist. The only way Antonio could get this job after the war is if he has a bicycle so he can get to different locations and put up posters. He and his wife had to sell bedsheets just to afford the bike, which reminded me how there are people that have to sell anything they have to afford transportation or to keep a job. The director Vittorio De Sica did a wonderful job of displaying the economic turmoil that Italy faced after the second World War with the elements of destitution and desperation.

I, along with Antonio, thought that his wife Maria was somewhat crazy for going to a seer for advice on what to do, but after seeing how their situation unfolds, I can understand why they she did so- she was desperate for an answer. The police officers didn’t seem like much help and time kept going by without the location of the bike being discovered. This desperation is what caused Antonio to try to steal a bike near the end of the film, which he was caught doing. Although I didn’t want to see Antonio stoop to that level, in that moment, I think I would’ve reacted in a similar way. If the police couldn’t find my bike, and the livelihood of my wife and two children depended on it, I would do whatever was possible to make ends meet. I did find it comical that he was immediately caught for trying to steal a bike, but when his bike was stolen, barely anyone around him reacted. That really broke my heart, and so did seeing Bruno’s reaction when he saw his father, his role model, break the law and get caught. I’m thankful the film didn’t end with him being thrown in jail but with the owner of the bike letting him go, I just wish I knew what happened to him and his family.

 

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