RasmusS’s review published on Letterboxd:
After being a bit disappointed in Shoeshine De Sica demonstrates why his films have been impactful and continue to touch people. Bicycle Thieves is neorealism so it obviously shows off the life in worn down houses and dusty streets that De Sica filmed on location. The cinematography captures people jamming to streetcars, rushing to work and attending church in terribly dynamic style while two people, father and son, search for the man who stole their bicycle. It is a story told in the streets letting the audience dwell on the misery and desperation of these people who thought their life was in a turning point to the better. The efficiency in storytelling isn’t quite there but I was transported into Antonio and Bruno’s shoes thanks to the heart aching performances and camerawork.
It wasn’t as manipulative as Shoeshine but there definitely are those music cues so often present in these types of films. Still, I find this as more truthful for its portrayal what living conditions and poorness - even worse, the glimmering light at the end of a tunnel taken away from you - can do to people. You don’t mind that there is some emotional music because you know the film shows an aspect that probably happened daily. And happens in different scales and forms daily. It resonates with people because everyone knows life is unfair and shitty. The Italian neorealist movement was important not only for capturing and preserving those conditions at the time but for being able to present simple stories about seemingly normal destinies as what they were - result of one of the worst events in human history. It is easy to expand thinking and switch the context to fit this day and age. The world has so much inequality between and inside countries while globalisation, rise of old or new harmful ideologies and global warming makes everything more convoluted. But these films focus on the lives of individuals and those pulled heartstrings are important reminders of what goes on at grass roots levels.