Posts in: February 2016

150 Films #13: The Bicycle Thief [Ladri di biciclette] (1948)

I’ve made a number of cracks at this essay. It turns out a film with such a brief running time and simple story asks too many profound questions. Without a heavy hand or any pompous philosophizing, the story of a man who needs to recover his stolen bike in order to keep a job he desperately needs manages to ask the following:

  • Does faith, religious or otherwise, serve any purpose or have any value?
  • How can a man with nothing deal with the consequences of a thief literally stealing his livelihood?
  • To what extent does poverty fuel desperate, criminal behavior?
  • What purpose does a criminal justice system serve when it has little interest in criminals or justice?
  • Does a man who can’t provide for his family have any purpose? (This is a bit dated but still a relevant concern for many men.)
  • How can a man who can’t provide for his family—or himself, for that matter—set a good example for his children?
  • Is one man’s desperate story any more important than anyone else’s?

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