7 March: Bicycle Thieves

7.30pm Wednesday 7 March
Amersham Arms, New Cross

Vittorio De Sica, Italy 1948 | Italian with English subtitles | Certificate U

The Italian neorealist The Bicycle Thieves regularly appears in the lists of the greatest films ever made, and is in the BFI’s top 10 of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14. But have you seen it yet? If not, now’s your chance.

The film tells the story of Antonio, a long-unemployed man who finally finds employment putting up cinema posters, for which he needs a bicycle. When his bicycle is stolen, Antonio and his son take to the streets in a desperate, heartbreaking search for it.

With pared down minimalism, eschewing studios and famous actors for real locations and non-professional actors who lived the lives they were playing, Bicycle Thieves defined the neorealist period, a small period of filmmaking that focused on simple, humanist stories, of which Bicycle Thieves was one of the most captivating and moving.

“One of the great, perfect crystalisations of a specific point in time into a particular film, this is one of the greatest cinematic experiences ever.” EMPIRE

“A (once again timely) warning about the corrupting effects of economic despair — but it’s also as tense in parts as a Hitchcock thriller. Its heartbreaking decency of vision is encapsulated in a wonderfully haunting score by Alessandro Cicognini.” TELEGRAPH

“A heartbreaking, endlessly affecting piece of humanist cinema, sharp in its social criticism, yet ultimately life-enhancing in its belief in the decency of ordinary people.” GUARDIAN