Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BICYCLE THIEVES (Italian) (1948)

A timeless masterpiece directed by Italian neorealist Director Vittorio De Sica that inspired Satyajit Ray to become a film maker & frequently on critics’ & directors’ lists of the best films ever made. It was deemed as the greatest film of all time & truly after such a long time it remains true gold for every classic cinema lover.
De Sica is one of the world’s most influential film makers whose work influenced so many classic directors. After watching the film in London Satyajit Ray confirmed that if ever he made ‘Pather Panchali’, he would make it the same way, using natural locations & unknown actors.

The great Director not only adds value to the experience of the film but enhances it into a transformative experience. This is what only a true art can do- It gives us another way of seeing the ordinary. A man uses his bicycle for work. The bike is stolen. The economic condition of family is in trouble. The father-son duo hunts around in the streets of Rome searching the stolen bike but left with frustration. The father steals a bike & the son watches as he’s caught & beaten by the crowd. The boy shares his humiliation.
De Sica raised a pertinent question in the end – How will this boy grow up having effects like this? Will he be a thief or a good citizen? The genius of De Sica lies in transforming such a simple story into something quite special about all of us. This is what only great director does.

Although the plot is simple, De Sica gave intensive treatment to the film depicting interesting & believable situations & characters sustain the mood of the film. It paints the sharp & tragic picture of working class family, the father-son relationship that is among subtlest & most profound in the cinema even today.

A Cinema of Life time.

It’s insulting to rate films like this.
A Pure Diamond.

P.S- My big thanks to ‘Enlighten Home Library’ for bringing the classic like this available on original DVDs in India. A also like to express my courtesy thanks for Landmark, Ahmedabad & the Customer Support Boy- ‘Munavar’, who takes special interest to my tough choice movie lists every time I land up there.


abhishek said...

i saw this movie around a year ago. i have heard that this movie is taught in the cinema department of Jadavpur university(kolkata), and also in Satyajit ray institute of cinema(kolkata, yet again). actually, when i passed 12th i wanted to join cinema, and to get enrolled to these institute, but unfortunately i use to be the topper of my class, and also being from a middle class family, i was forced to join engineering [:-)]......anyways...!!

i loved the movie. the best thing was the use of real life actors. and their acting was brilliant. remember the scene where his cycle has just got stolen, and he ran after the thief, but couldnt catch, and he is returning back, from dark towards light and his face is shown, and a drop of sweat is dropping from his temple........man that scene gave me a goose bump. u know when i was a kid, i use to lose a lot of stuffs, and everytime i realized that i have done it again, i had the same drop of sweat on my temple, as i knew that my mom will beat me again.

Also the frustration scenes, where he goes to the pizza parlor, to eat, as he thinks that whatever effort he gives, he will end up as dead, and he shares a drink with his son ( a very beautiful scene.), is really unforgettable.

Ofcorse the last scene leaves a deep impact on viewer. The eye of father and the son speaks out all the guilt, humiliation, frustration, & helplessness. A timeless piece of cinema, a new peak in movie making.

Vikram said...


when director Vittorio DeSica decided upon making the movie and was selecting his cast and crew one of the six big Hollywood studios wanted to enter into a collaboration with 'Produzioni De Sica', the director's production company to provide strong Hollywood backing for the film as they knew even before the shooting had begun that this was a going to be a classic. But they laid just one condition being that the lead actor should be Cary Grant. wow! what more would a director want? backing from one of the six major hollywood studios and Cary Grant (hero of Alfred Hitchcock movies) as hero... but Vittorio DeSica thought that if he casted Cary Grant the raw feel and effect of the movie would not materialize and he casted non actors instead!!!
Well I don't think I need to say my views of this movie for whoever is reading my comment to understand the greatness of this classic after reading that story

HIREN DAVE said...

nice to see both of community buddies comments...