29 August 2005

The Bicycle Thief

Let's say it's maybe 1947 and your country lost the war, and you're poor as hell, and it's been more than a year since you've had a job. You've got a wife and a young son (he's maybe ten years old and works in a gas station) and a baby at home, and not that long ago you had to pawn your bicycle so your family could eat.

Then, out of despair, hope: you're offered a job putting up posters. But you need a bicycle to get this job. So you and your wife pawn your bedsheets to get your bicycle back. You start your new job, which you're not terribly good at, but maybe you'll improve, and before the end of your first day, your bicycle is stolen.

Can things get worse? They can. You can search all over Rome for the bicycle, not find it, then confront the thief, but be unable to prove it's him. You can turn into a bicycle thief yourself, out of desperation, and be caught by a mob, shamed before the eyes of your young son.

If a picture of misery can be beautiful, then this is it. The Bicycle Thief was directed by Vittorio di Sica.

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