Vittorio De Sica Eric Rhode - Essay

Eric Rhode

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The sentimentality which many critics have felt in Bicycle Thieves arises, I feel, from the unresolved contradictions set up by its two themes. Ostensibly a protest against degrading social and economic conditions, this theme is never more than a cover or excuse for the theme of solidarity against loneliness, in which De Sica and Zavattini are really involved emotionally. Their embarrassment at this confusion can best be seen at the climax of the film. This, oddly enough, is not the moment of degradation when the father is caught stealing the bicycle, but the moment when the father strikes his son, and then suspects the child has been drowned (symbolically suggesting that he has killed the son himself); and it...

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