Ladri di Biciclette is the ultimate masterwork of Italian neoralism and an engaging film whose influence has lasted for over sixty years. Vittorio De Sica’s vision about the eagerness of a post-war society unequivocally trying to fit in the world again, pleased the critics and conquered the audience’s heart. Furthermore, it reflects the yearnings of any given person around the world desperately trying to change their destiny. Within this context, any legitimate sign may lead to an unprecedented personal evolution when you least expect it.
Now, let’s pay attention to the small details. Most of the movies from the neorealist movement dealt with common people’s misery and their never-ending fighting. However, there is always time for a little love and forgiveness, or in other words, one of the best sequences of Ladri di Biciclette: after hours of walking, father and son decide to take a break. They are beside a river and Antonio asks the kid if he wants to eat some pizza, as they both are hungry.
Suddenly, Bruno’s face draws the most beautiful smile as he says yes. Vittorio De Sica’s cinematographic instinct shines in this brief yet gorgeous scene. The kid’s innocence is so real and pure that it almost hurts. Read between the lines to discover a very powerful message here: even in the worst day of your existence, a single display of love can change your life for good.
The desperate man eventually finds the thief, but he doesn't recover his bicycle. Hopefully at this point the most perceptive part of the audience already knows what the movie is really about: Antonio is not only trying to get his vehicle back. He is looking for the dignity that a messed-up world and the political system have stolen from him. He’s figuring out his purpose in life after the end of a war that no one wanted in the first place. But of course, evildoers know nothing about lost bicycles, hopes and dreams. Even so, the burning desire to change your own condition is a lot more powerful than the cruelest of worlds and can defeat the most soulless thieves.
I would like to think that Antonio and his family eventually overcame their problems and that day was just a memory in time. This was just another bad day for them, but fortunately for us, this collection of events is simply one of the best movies ever made.
Finally, let’s remember that Lamberto Maggiorani and Enzo Staiola have never acted before this film. Pretty impressive, as that didn’t prevent them from awakening our consciousness with their acting in a way that only the greatest masterpieces can do.
Ladri di Biciclette
Distributed by Ente Nazionale Industrie Cinematografiche
Directed by Vittorio De Sica
Produced by PDS Produzioni De Sica
Written by Vittorio De Sica, Cesare Savattini, Susso Cechi d'Amico, Gerardo Guerrieri, Oreste Biancoli and Adolfo Franci
Starring: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Vittorio Antonucci
Edited by Eraldo Da Roma
Cinematography: Carlo Montuori
Music: Alessandro Cicognini