The bicycle Thief

Essay by ninsareCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2007

download word file, 6 pages 4.0

Downloaded 20 times

The Bicycle Thief

"The Bicycle Thief" is a deeply moving neo-realist study of post-war Italy, which depicts one man's loss of faith and his struggle to maintain personal dignity in poverty and bureaucratic indifference. Antonio Ricci is a billposter whose bicycle, essential for his job, is stolen by a thief. Joined by his son, Bruno, Antonio vainly searches for his bike, eventually resorting to the humiliation of theft himself.

Throughout this paper, I will attempt to trace the character through "The Bicycle Thief." A crowd forms in front of a government employment agency, as it does everyday, waiting - in vain - for job announcements. Antonio Ricci, one of the unemployed laborers who participates in this daily ritual, is selected to hang posters in the city, a job requiring a bicycle, which he has long sold in order to sustain his family's meager existence for a few more days.

He and his wife, Maria, return to the pawnshop with a few remaining possessions, their matrimonial linen, in order to redeem the bicycle.

During his first day at his new work, his bicycle is stolen. He combs the city with his young son, Bruno, in search of the elusive bicycle. Within this unremarkable premise lies the pure articulacy and profoundly affecting story of De Sica, "The Bicycle Thief" is a searing symbol of the human condition, a caustic narrative of despair and hope, loss and liberation, expressively told in subtle actions and spare words.

A singular camera shot follows an employee climbing several stories of pawned linen in order to store another acquisition. A panning film sequence in a restaurant contrasts the father and son "feasting" on bread with an affluent family dining nearby. A long, traveling shot of a street bazaar shows Antonio and Bruno searching...