2 minutes reading time (363 words)

Bicycle Thieves

Ciao Asheville Presents a Discussion of "Bicycle Thieves" lead by our Film Coordinator Robert Formento.

Sunday, September 29th from 1 to 4pm @MetroWines

Event and Popcorn on the house. $7 for a glass of italian Red or White Wine! Summary from Robert:

Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di Biciclette)

Our next film discussion, Bicycle Thieves (released in 1948), tells the story of Antonio Ricci, a long unemployed man in postwar Italy who finally finds employment putting up cinema posters around Rome. But, the job requires him to have a bicycle. His wife Maria pawns all her dowry bed linens to redeem their already pawned bicycle. Antonio’s elation quickly turns to despair when it is stolen on his first day of work. Antonio and his son Bruno desperately search the city to find the bicycle which is so important to their family’s day to day survival. Although the story could not be more simple, it draws you emotionally into the conditions of the poor and lower working class and their daily despair and in this case, the relationship of the father and son as they search for the bicycle, the family’s lifeline.


Bicycle Thieves is one of the best examples of a filmmaking movement called Italian Neorealism. The genre only lasted from 1943 to about 1951, but had a major impact on film makers throughout the world. In fact, Roger Ebert quotes Martin Scorsese as saying that the films of this era were some of the greatest influences on his work.


These Italian neorealistic films were a dramatic change from the “happy”, romantic, Hollywood type films of Mussolini’s rein which were highly censored and did not at all represent the true conditions in Italy at the time. The neorealistic films were shot in the run down parts of the city or countryside, employed mostly amateurs and dramatically showed the conditions of the poor and lower working class. This new film genre would show the “new reality” of Italian life.


Among its many awards, in 1949, Bicycle Thieves was voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States.

Run time 90 minutes.


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