Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Life in the Struggle

As I sat down in the very back row of the class (a new seating aramgement to me), I looked up at the screen and noticed that it was another black and white flim, subtitled, and probably uninteresting. I was wrong about the last presumption. The film "The Bicycle Thief" is a sad look at the tough life of a man who is trying to provide for his family by getting a job glueing posters to walls. The job requires that he own a bicycle, and even that is out of his price range. His wife actually has to sell all the bed sheets in the house in order to buy one. She is upset, but according to this christian-edjucated guesser she visits and gives money too, she is willing to make the sacrifice. Selling the sheets proves useful, because the man sets of to work the next morning and
shows that he has both the coordination and drive to ride a bike with a ladder and a bucket of paste.
Disaster strikes though when a boy with a German hat steals his bike and he loses track of him. I thought at this point he was just going to pursue the villian for the rest of the movie, but no, Vittorio De Sica has to get me emotionaly attached to the man's son. The man avoids going home and meets up with his toddler son. They go looking for the bike, and at one point the man leaves his son unnattended and hears screams from the shore. The son ofcourse is standing safely at the top of some stairs. The father sighs deeply and returns to his son, now not really in the pursuit of the bike but in "Pursuit of Happynes" (similar premise much). This story doesn't end with the man on jet skis though, spoiler alert. Even after treating his son to some mozzarella
bread and some alcohol (kid deserves it too, he has a part time job), the man's day just gets worse and worse.
Later on the man finds the culprit and follows him into, what looks like to me, is a brothel. The culprit is then dragged into the street and is threatend by the man. People come to the theif's aid and prepare to beat the man for accusing a boy with "a clean record". The kid even pretends to have a seizure in order to look innocent. A cop then brakes it up and assists the man in searching for his bike in the thief's house, which proves to be modest and without a trace of the bike. The man then has to swallow his pride and shove his way through the angry people on the street.
You sly bastard.

The man returns to the scene of the initial crime and ponders the idea of stealing a bike. After much pacing and debate, he gives his son money for a cab and commits grand theft bicycle. He races off and only gets about fifty yards before being ripped on the bike and smacked around. All the while, his son watches his father be disgraced.
If only the man had tried pursuing another job instead of the bike he might not get backhanded in front of his son and forever forbidden from walking the streets near the local brothel. The movie starts and ends with a gloomy tone, and given the chance to see it again, I wouldn't. I understood it's importance as far as showing the struggle a man makes to feed his family, but I could just at the world around me than watch a black and white movie with subtitles.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love the GTA reference. Hands down, most annoying thing in that game.