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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ladri Di Biciclette (aka Bicycle Thieves) (1948)

In post WWII Rome, an unemployed man (Lamberto Maggiorani) is faced with supporting his wife (Lianella Carell) and young son (Bruno Staiola) as well as a new born baby. After months of no work, he finally gets a job that requires transportation, a bicycle that enables him to post bills around Rome. But when his bicycle is stolen, so is his livelihood and in order to save his family, he begins to search for the bike or the man who stole it. Acknowledged as one of the greatest films of the 20th century, Vittorio De Sica's neorealist film utilizes non-actors (though you'd never know it from the performances they give) to give us a shattering emotional experience. The film's simplicity belies its intricacy. The father's journey takes us along and allows us glimpses of poverty and the indignities poverty not only puts us through but the things it sometimes forces us to do.  It's the kind of film that lingers in your cinematic memory for the rest of your life. Bruno Staiola gives one of the most memorable child performances I've ever seen, he's a real heartbreaker (apparently he grew up to be a math teacher). The understated score is by Alessandro Cicognini. Based on the novel by Luigi Bartolini.

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