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The Bicycle Thief Essay

1430 words - 6 pages

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 through an endless sea of nondescript bicycles, all presumably stolen. "The Bicycle Thief" is an honest examination of a soul torn by responsibility and moral consequence, a simple man incapable of articulating his pain. "The Bicycle Thief" is the story of humanity, in all its imperfect beauty and heartbreaking cruelty, the typical definition of an artistic work of art... truly a cinematic attraction.In series irregular domestic scenes, Antonio is portrayed as a loving husband and understanding father. He helps his wife carry heavy buckets of water and engages his young son, Bruno as a reliable helper and trusted his with preparation of the cherished bicycle for the first day's work.Accompanied by Bruno, Antonio begins to search for the bicycle as his valuable property, which has come to represent both his livelihood and any hope for a prosperous future. The police are of no help; they cannot be bothered with such a trivial case. Antonio and his son search the open-air markets where stolen goods are dismantled and sold, for trace of evidence. In a masterful montage of human faces and bicycle parts - frames, tires, seats, horns, and so on. The film contrasts the world's apparent abundance with Antonio's...

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