Fri, Sep 25 7:30 pm
Directed by Vittorio De Sica (1948), Awards: Golden Globe: Best Foreign Film, Nominated Oscar: Best Screenplay, New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Foreign Language Film, National Board of Review Award: Best Director, Best Film (any language) NR, Italian with English subtitles
This exemplar of Italian neorealist drama became one of the best-known and most widely acclaimed European movies, including a special Academy Award as “most outstanding foreign film” seven years before that Oscar category existed. Written primarily by neorealist pioneer Cesare Zavattini and directed by Vittorio DeSica, also one of the movement’s main forces, the movie featured all the hallmarks of the neorealist style: a simple story about the lives of ordinary people, outdoor shooting and lighting, non-actors mixed together with actors, and a focus on social problems in the aftermath of World War II. Lamberto Maggiorani plays Antonio, an unemployed man who finds a coveted job that requires a bicycle. When it is stolen on his first day of work, Antonio and his young son Bruno (Enzo Staiola) begin a frantic search, learning valuable lessons along the way. The movie focuses on both the relationship between the father and the son and the larger framework of poverty and unemployment in postwar Italy. The Bicycle Thief works as a sentimental study of a father and son, a historical document, a social statement, and a record of one of the century’s most influential film movements.