Thursday, March 22, 2012
Bicycle Thieves (The Criterion Collection)
Bicycle Thieves (Italian: Ladri di biciclette), also known as The Bicycle Thief, is a 1948 Italian neorealist film directed by Vittorio De Sica. It tells the story of a poor man searching the streets of Rome for his stolen bicycle, which he needs to be able to work. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Luigi Bartolini and was adapted for the screen by Cesare Zavattini. It stars Lamberto Maggiorani as the poor man searching for his lost bicycle and Enzo Staiola as his son.
It was given an Academy Honorary Award in 1950, and, just four years after its release, was deemed the greatest film of all time by the magazine Sight & Sound's poll of filmmakers and critics in 1952. The film placed sixth as the greatest ever made in Sight & Sound's latest directors' poll, conducted in 2002, and was ranked in the top 10 of the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14.
Bicycle Thieves is the best known neo-realist film; a movement begun by Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City (1945), which attempted to give a new degree of realism to cinema. Following the precepts of the movement, De Sica shot only on location in Rome, and instead of professional actors used nonactors with no training in performance; for example, Lamberto Maggiorani, the leading actor, was a factory worker. The picture is also in the Vatican's Best Films List for portraying humanistic values.
Lamberto Maggiorani as Antonio Ricci
Enzo Staiola as Bruno Ricci, Antonio's son
Lianella Carell as Maria Ricci, Antonio's wife
Gino Saltamerenda as Baiocco, Antonio's friend who helps search
Vittorio Antonucci as Bicycle thief
Giulio Chiari as Beggar