Movie: Bicycle Thieves
Genre: Italian Drama
Director:Vittorio De Sica
Starring:Lamberto Maggiorani (Antonio Ricci), Enzo Staiola(Bruno Ricci)
Release Year: 1948
Film study requires one to build upon the skills in analysis. Scene analysis does not only require to have a thorough understanding of the scene one chooses to explore but also needs to have a thorough exploration of the overall film. This paper aims in presenting a scene analysis from the movie Bicycle Thieves.
Bicycle Thieves is an Italian drama released in 1948. The film was directed by Vittorio De Sica and reflected on the perspectives of Italian Neorealism. The film is surreally one of the remarkable works by director Sica and is one of the quintessential Italian neorealist films.Italian neorealismhas been referred to as a national film movement that establishes setting of the stories among the working class and the poor, that are filmed on the locations using the non-professional actors (Burke, 2017).
The movie is based on the time horizons during the post war, when Italy was deeply in shatters both morally and economically. Antonio, main protagonist of the film is on the mission of finding the stolen bicycle along with his son, Bruno Ricci. Poverty struckand unemployed Antonia was delighted enough when he got a job of putting up posters on the street walls with the condition of having a bicycle. The film very well unfolds the financial constraints and hardships of lifefocusing upon the different angles of hope,aspirations and the futures of people.The film is structured episodically and layer by layer reveals different emotions and functioning of the society where the problem of the poor is given the least priority in the society.
The ending scene sequence takes a clear sweep and an entire 360° view from 01:19:20 to 01:30:04hoursand is probably one of the most captivating and dramatic scenes in the entire film. The best part about the dramatic scenes is that it offers much more than just expressing thoughts and emotions (Lothane, 2015). The scene very well presentsthe dilemma of fatherhood and innocence of childhood. It binds the audiences using the raw emotions of Antonio losing the last hope to regain his stolen bicycle.The starting of the scene reflects Antonio walking away from all the people feeling deeply saddened by facing the bitter reality of the world losing all the hopes and dreams of the future falling apart one by one.
The scene progresses with Antonio and Bruno having a long walk across the streets of Rome. Finally, at a point they stopped near a road turn, where Antonio observed Bruno in deep worries. At this point, he as a father felt helpless and incompetent for not being able to provide his son with the best of future. The feeling of helplessness and humiliationis the biggest psychologicaltrauma that one can experience (Craner, Wesley and Jeannie, 2016).The scene moves forward having a look at all the bicycles parked in front with a non-verbal monologue of having a one. Turning away from the temptation, at 01:21:54 hoursAntonio’s one gaze at a bicycle parked unattended along the wall of a deserted street explains what just passes his mind. The scene has no dialogues and is the most moving and audience binding scene in the entire film that comprises hundreds of emotions.The no-dialogue scenes are the most crucial factor in any film that offers so much to think to the audience and is one of the attributed success of the scene (Davis, 2016). The scene observes ‘moral dislocation’ of Antonio that is very well directed using jump-cuts in the film. The shot that held together while Antonio was sending Bruno away from the sight was based on a fear of a father for losing the respect and admiration of the son.
The scene moves beyond just father and son, and travels through the path of a man being desperately wanted to reclaim the position be a breadwinner of the family against every situation to surpass the humiliation and mocking faced in front of his son.This is the most intense scene of the film where Antonio, man with high morale, himself became the bicycle thief and being chased by the group of people. The scene very well unravels through mixed emotions of Bruno using the camera panning techniques to depicts anger and amazement while watching group of people chasing his father. This provides an intense depiction of commitment of immoral practices by the poor individuals transforming into the petty criminals due to the rigid social circumstances of hunger, poverty and unemployment (Papaioannou, 2017).The scene powerfully makes the spectators feels the pain and agony that is reflected in Antonio’s eyes of world being against him. The irony relates to the people beating him for being the thief while supporting another thief for stealing his bicycle. The reaction shot of Bruno where he was rushing towards his father crying ‘Dad, dad’ for his rescue was the most surreal shot that held together the love of a son for his father despite any act.
The dilemma in Antonio’s mind was very well reflected through the realistic and genuine expressions when he chose to remain silent and walks away with burden of humiliation and fear of losing Bruno’s respect. However, the close-up shot, when Bruno holds Antonio hands making him cry depicts the purest form of love of a son towards his father reaffirming his trust and confidence in him.This moving scene between a father and a son is a delight to the audience and facilitates audience with the experience of harmony and importance of people more than the materialistic things. It emotionally travels across the idea that relations formed on trust, love and care are one of the biggest strength of people living in the economically scarce world.
Thus, the last shot where Antonio and Bruno disappear in the crowd leaves a powerful impact on people delivering the message of the countless stories of suffering among the poor and the working class in the dysfunctional society of postwar Italy.
Bicycle Thieves is an epic representation of the dilemmas of one’s lives through classic black and white cinema. The ending scene of the Academy award winning film, Bicycle Thieves, is a masterpiece and is an entrenching part that captivates the audience so well that it stands historical even in today’s era.
Burke, Frank, ed. A Companion to Italian Cinema. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2017.
Craner, Julia R., Wesley P. Gilliam, and Jeannie A. Sperry. "Rumination, Magnification, and Helplessness." The Clinical journal of pain 32.12 (2016): 1028–1035.
Davis, Rib. Writing dialogue for scripts. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.
Lothane, Henry Zvi. "Emotional reality: A further contribution to dramatology." International Forum of Psychoanalysis. Vol. 24. No. 4. Routledge, 2015.
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