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Film Review - Bycicle Thieves

            Bicycles Thieves (1948) represents one of the most important films of Italian neorealism. Through a simple story (a man with his son searches his stolen bicycle, extremely important for his survival) the film became a parable about the difficulties and the problems which afflicted Italy during the post-war period. In this essay I will analyse all the characteristics that make Bicycles Thieves a realistic film, and all the non-realistic elements that, in some ways, determine its realism as well. Initially, it is important to make a short introduction about Italian neorealism and its aspects. This movement had been developed in Italy between 1945 and 1953: young filmmakers took part in new programs of innovation, because they wanted to show the truth after a long period of dictatorship. Their purpose was to create a direct approach with reality, showing without artefacts what actually were the consequences after the defeat of the war1. It is noticeable that films realised in this period were clearly in contrast with the previous ones, in various aspects. First of all there is the location: the war caused a lot of damage to the Italians Studios of Cinecitta, therefore filmmakers had to shoot in the streets and in the countryside. Then the actors: since it was not possible to use any more competent ex stars that represented "heroes of propaganda"" during fascism, directors started using non-professional actors. Finally, there is the language: dialects suddenly emerged in films, and most of them were characterised by a plurilingualism such as German, Italian, or English. For the first time in Italian cinema history dialects were considered as important as official languages. Directors were no longer interested in individual stories of the bourgeoisie, but in common sequences focused both on partisan heroism and in social problems, such as the contrast of political parties, the inflation and the increasing unemployment.

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