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Ignorance In The Bicycle Thieves

Decent Essays
Humans have the tendency to romanticize many aspects of our society, be it wars, relationships, or histories. However with this romanticism, comes ignorance, of most negative aspects of truth and reality. This nostalgic ignorance and apathy towards those negatively affected by generally romanticized events is the central theme of Vittorio de Sica’s neorealist work The Bicycle Thieves. This argument is created by accurate incidental music, stark contrast in shots, and fluid, human camera tracking throughout the film.
Every background and still of The Bicycle Thieves tells its own story, via the mise-en scen technique. One of the first scenes is the pawn store scene, where Maria turns their bedsheets in order to redeem Antonio’s bike, a necessity
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The first bicycle theft, comes early in the film as Antonio’s bike is stolen as he works. This scene expresses the contrasts between the economic classes as the poor, disenfranchised man plasters an advertisement, which is inherently capitalist and therefore directly marketed towards the rich fraction of society, in relative disregard to the poor lower class. The scene continues to a similarly poor kid stealing Antonio’s bike. As Antonio chases,no one of the richer population cares enough to help as he loses the boy and the bike. This scene is both paralleled and contrasted with the final scene of the film. Before the scene even begins, the shot shows a stadium, lingering upon the topping statues of the structure of gladiators. These couple seconds reveal a great amount of theme, as the gladiators were one of the first examples in italian culture of a severe disenfranchisement of poorer classes, as they were forced to fight for freedom. This stages the argument for the coming scene. In line with the beginning scene, Antonio succumbs to the theft of a bike, but this time is pursued and caught by a crowd. The contrast between the two scenes is that the victim of the theft is wealthy. Due to his wealth, he is immediately helped by a large crowd whom easily catch Antonio. These scenes are indicative of the theme of apathy towards the poor, lower…show more content…
This realism is based in both the very human nature of the acting, as expressed in Charles Burnett’s essay Ode to the Common Man, as well as in the fluid camera movements of the film. This humanist camera movement is best exemplified by the scene where Antonio believes Bruno to have jumped into the river, after Antonio slapped him. The camera follows Antonio, creating an effect of truly being there, further enhancing the realism, and therefore the thematic material as the two were linked. The human nature is further revealed within the acting of the film, an observation made in Burnett’s essay. “Her [Maria] look of disappointment is powerfully affecting. I [Burnett] often wonder if that was de Scia or her.” (Burnett). This argument is a direct proof at the argument, as the disappointment expressed at the denial by the richer store operator, directly paralleling the apathy, if distaste of the rich towards the society’s poor. This connection however, would be completely lost if not for the inherently human and personal performances by the
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