Vittorio De Sica Richard Winnington - Essay

Richard Winnington

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Bicycle Thieves is a wholly satisfying film in that de Sica has so simplified and mastered the mechanics of the job that nothing stands between you and his intention. It can be likened to a painting that is formed in an intensity of concentration, and is as good as finished before it reaches the canvas. In fact, Bicycle Thieves, as a film properly should, relates to plastic and in no sense to dramatic or literary art. de Sica displays this with the opening compilation of visuals, which at once places his family in an environment of slow, sapping industrial poverty, where the bicycle and the bed linen represent the last claims of domestic pride, and where the pawnshop and the tenement fortune-teller batten on misery. It is, needless to say, a Rome the visitor sees though seldom penetrates, but where, before the war, he might have admired the triumphs of Mussolini's industrial architecture. (pp. 27-8)

[Although, by] some process of magnetism, de Sica has drawn from [the] boy an unparalleled child performance, it is the man who is his symbol of the human plight. He is the helpless individual, herded with, yet isolated from his fellows, who is caught in a situation. To de Sica and many Italians who have absorbed their Kafka and Sartre, this is the general theme of the century. It might be said to parallel the situation of Italy herself.

The story of that heartrending Sunday search after the stolen bicycle is...

(The entire section is 543 words.)