I watched BICYCLE THIEVES, which I haven’t seen since I thought it was called THE BICYCLE THIEF. SPOILER I really only strongly recalled the scene where the father treats himself and Bruno to lunch; yet, even that felt different than I remembered it! I was awfully surprised how poorly I remembered the story overall; I …
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BICYCLE THIEVES, aka THE BICYCLE THIEF

I watched BICYCLE THIEVES, which I haven’t seen since I thought it was called THE BICYCLE THIEF.

SPOILER

I really only strongly recalled the scene where the father treats himself and Bruno to lunch; yet, even that felt different than I remembered it! I was awfully surprised how poorly I remembered the story overall; I don’t recall the Holy One seer, or Bruno working at a paid job (!), or many of the more memorable shots or sequences. I couldn’t remember how it ended, whether he found the bicycle again or not. That’s the best way to see a movie, with real suspense. I certainly didn’t, surprisingly, as it’s pretty integral, remember the suspenseful scene wherein he considers the lone standing bike, on the verge of becoming the bicycle thief himself, and sends Bruno home on the streetcar. My “couchsurfer” Robert groaned aloud repeatedly at this scene, and turned away, not wanting to watch as the decision prolonged itself. It’s so great to see a person so wrapped up in a story or scene.

I would venture this person didn’t like the movie; he admired much of it however found it too bleak and dire and depressing. The ending definitely upset him emotionally, and bothered him later.

I certainly agreed; it was a definite downer. Still, in that final scene, I felt Bruno broke into tears not only out of fear of losing his dad, but also, this: after realizing throughout the day (especially at the diner over the sandwich) how desperate their circumstances were, he climactically sees just how desperate and unselfish and willing his father was.

I really dig Bruno in this movie; he’s incredible. He was my strongest memory of the movie (the restaurant scene). I was tremendously moved when he and his father took each other’s hands and walked off after the final heartbreak; the situation is dire and the outlook bleak, yet they have made a real emotional breakthrough in their human relationships, and are going to be closer and more involved and more understanding of each other, and more of a team, in the future. I left the movie feeling anxiously saddened, yet thinking that disaster and humiliation had bonded these two people stronger than ever before. I always pictured Bruno throughout the movie as a real “little man”, and discussing this movie afterwards, I can definitely see him as a grown up railing about society and the cops and the city and thieves people in general because of the worldview he gained through his father; I see him hollering at anyone who will listen about how tough times were back then, how his 5-star dad would have done ANYthing for his family, and what a cold bunch of bastards the world all were, when they’d most needed it. This is a day that may affect Bruno more than it does his father.

I was wrapped up and generally missed out on analyzing the structure very closely; one thing I liked about Save The Cat was how it pointed out Whiff Of Death in the Second Half, and I noticed that as a standout moment in this one. I suppose the Third Act commences when he leaves the Holy Seer, whom he has disparaged and now integrated into his life, and he spots the bicycle thief, and that the “Second Act” commences once the same bicycle thief steals his bike (although what FilmCritHulk would call the Second Act (and I like his method a lot) begins once he’s got his bicycle back out of the pawnshop and begun work, savoring his prospects of making a living and commanding respect in his cap. I made a mental note to look for the midpoint, however, I lost track during the story. Off the top of my head I’d suggest he and Bruno spotting the bicycle thief talking to the Old Man in the street; the Old Man is a trail they can follow. Thinking more, I’d suggest the “they lose track of the bicycle thief” immediately afterwards as the False Defeat Midpoint to this story.

Many scenes in BICYCLE THIEVES upset me (the bullying mob protecting the bicycle thief, for example); the man’s plight and determination and demeanor all engaged me. I almost liked this as much as CLEO FROM 5 TO 7, which also has a key scene with a psychic, and which also spends a lot of time roaming outdoors over quite short time spans in old great Western European Latin cities (Rome and Paris), mulling loss and life and hope. Not enough for a Double Bill recommendation, yet enough to be reminded of one’s tone and atmosphere while watching the other.