Screening Report-the Bicycle Thieves (1948)

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Flim 2700-Dr. Zhang
Screening Report-The Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Spring 2013

At the end of World War II, in 1945, Italy found itself defeated, war ravaged and in great economic turmoil. Italy, the once romantic agricultural Mediterranean gem was attempting to recover from Nazi occupation and reindustrialize. Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, believed cinema, to be the most powerful weapon; “Il cinema è l'arma più forte" he constructed the Cinecittà. It became Europe’s largest film studio, so large it could have been its own city. His assassination marked the downfall of his ‘white telephone’ propaganda movies and the rise of Italian neorealism. Italian Neorealism was a brief era of new realism; birthed from the film makers whom believed the world should see the real plight of the average Italian at that time. Influenced by its predecessors; French poet realism, Japanese cinema and American film noir, Neorealism was shot on gritty location using unprofessional actors, retelling the story of ‘their’ lives at the time. This genre is best displayed by the iconic film, “Ladri di biciclette” The bicycle thieves directed Vittorio De Sica. The bicycle thieves, was filmed using raw limited techniques, similar to today’s gritty documentary. The glum, slum-like streets of Rome, where masses of men hope to find day work to support their struggling families was its backdrop. Ricci, the films protagonist was lucky enough to find street work hanging movie posters. On his first day of work, a thief steals his bike. Ricci’s bike is his only means of transportation to work. The bike stealing scene, not only sets the narrative for the plots’ most major conflict; it also perfectly juxtaposes the Italian neorealism versus the glamor of Hollywood’s heyday. A man of little means, Ricci, was carefully plastering the glamorous America Hollywood movies star, Rita Hayworth, upon a wall within the dilapidated streets of war-torn Rome. The two figures both represented ideologies...
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