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Dec 21, 2003

Bicyle Thief, The 

Vittorio De Sica's acclaimed masterpeice , The Bicycle Thief brought back memories of old Satyajit Ray films, black and white films of another era which were touted a class apart. Ofcourse, they were, they reminded us of a not so colorful world we inhabit daily, but nonetheless poignant and sanguine. Bicycle thief is set in post war Italy where people are struggling to make ends meet, not at all confirming to the glorious picture of Europe that people from developing countries might have of it.

The hero of the film lands a job, after a long wait, whose requirement is that he should have bicyle, which he procures after repaying the loan he has taken on the bicycle. As luck would have it on the first day of the job itself the bicycle gets stolen and the movie follows his search for the bicycle and its thief on the very next day thru' the streets of the city, with his young son.

The young boy who follows his father in his search has been portrayed as a silent observer and witness of all the events, at once the viewer is the man and the boy. Lamberto Maggiorani, who plays the main character of the man who loses his bicycle is brilliant inspite of being a non actor. The child actor Enzo Staiola was casted right from the streets to play the character of the little boy, it is as if he is the character. The movie won the best foreign film Oscar in 1949. By some coincidence or similarity this film reminds me a lot of Bimal Roy's Do Bhiga Zameen.