Category: The Bicycle Thieves

Postcards from Rio & Rome

Postcard from… 

You are going to send a postcard home from the films version of the city we are in.

This should of course include multiple images from the films:

  • iconic images
  • locations & settings
  • The atmosphere
  • characters you have met
  • The events you witnessed (from the film)

Rome in The Bicycle Thieves


Rio de Janeiro in City of God


World Cinema Revision 5 – Narrative & Setting

REPRESENTATION OF THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT:

Another question, which crops up regularly is something like this:

Explore how stylistic choices contribute to the representation of the urban experience in the films you have studied for this topic.


What is the importance of cinematography and/or editing in communicating issues of power, poverty and conflict in the films you have studied for this topic?

These essays require you to have a really good knowledge of the specific micro techniques that the directors use to communicate their themes (messages and values) about the nature of the city.

Postcard from… 

You are going to send a postcard home from the films version of the city we are in.

This should of course include multiple images from the films:

  • iconic images
  • locations & settings
  • The atmosphere
  • characters you have met
  • The events you witnessed (from the film)

 

NARRATIVE

Here is a worksheet on narrative which explains it more precisely.

World Cinema Revision 2 – Cinematic Movements

CINEMATIC STYLE (ITALIAN NEO REALISM AND CINEMA NOVO)

A typical question which comes up in the exam is something like:

Discuss how far the ‘look’ created by cinematography and editing contributes to the impact of the films you have studied for this topic.


‘To find an international audience, films about local and particular problems need to use mainstream techniques such as those associated with Hollywood cinema.’ How far do you agree with this statement in relation to the films you have studied for this topic?

As noted above the best way to approach this sort of essay is using evidence of the cinematic movements that the films have used in their style.

CINEMA NOVO & ITALIAN NEO REALISM

Same as with context make a copy of this template and fill in the features of the particular movement and where you can see evidence of them in the films.

ANALYSIS / DEBATE

There are some nice debates to be had – especially with City of God – that maybe the style of the film outweighs and simplifies the themes of the film. This would be a useful idea to develop your analysis and include in your introduction and conclusion.

Read the articles in the pre reading and pick out 3 key quotes that you can use in your revision to help your analysis. Consider how The Bicycle Thieves fits within this as well.

Note: Please do not refer to the Bicycle Thieves as ‘boring’ just because the cinematic style is less obvious / energetic.

The Bicycle Thieves (1948) De Sica : An Introduction

Before we start unpicking and breaking down The Bicycle Thieves, it is important that we understand a bit more about it so that we are fully equipped to analyse it appropriately.

We are studying this film because of its importance and influence on later European Cinema including the French Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) and later British Social Realism.

It is also a good companion piece to our second film City of God because Cinema Novo was heavily influenced by and grew out of Italian Neo Realism. Just like City of God, The Bicycle Thieves, shows a city in crisis and the impact that has on the inhabitants. Just like City of God, the protagonists are trapped and disenfranchised in a city that has marginalised them (pushed them aside and forgotten about them). Here are some of the key contexts that are evident in the film, which we need to research.

Please complete your notes in your booklets:

  • The film is set in Italy just after World War II, a devastated society, with unemployment running at 25-30%!
  • It shows us a defeated country that is unsure about its future.
  • The film shows us people who were promised so much by the facist government, but badly lets down.
  • It explores a country and people that are fractured and defeated
  • The institutional powers (Government, Police & Church) are broken down and offer no help to the protagonists.
  • It is about a working class that is struggling to survive.
  • It’s about the degrading, humiliating and corrupting influence of living in such a society has on the people forced into the margins (the disenfranchised)

Here are a couple of useful videos:

A brief overview of Italian Neo Realism:

Here is a great lecture given by MIT Professor David Thorburn, who covers:

  • The context of post WWII Italy
  • The features and ‘density’ of Italian Neo Realism (28.00 – 34.15)
  • The cinema of Fascist Italy that the film was reacting to

The topics which you are going to present on the Bicycle Thieves and the contexts surrounding it are:

  1. Rita Heyworth & Hollywood glamour
    1. American Film Noir movies of the 1930’s & 1940’s
    2. Italian Cinema during the Mussolini Era
  2. A confident self assured fascist Italy under Mussolini and a defeated Italy at the end of WWII
  3. The cinematic movement called ‘Italian Neo Realism’
    1. Who were the big directors and films of that movement?
    2. What were they trying to say?
    3. How did they seek to use cinematic technique to suit their political agenda?

Your Notes

Use this booklet to complete your notes.

World Cinema Revision

CINEMATIC STYLE (ITALIAN NEO REALISM AND CINEMA NOVO)

A typical question which comes up in the exam is something like:

Discuss how far the ‘look’ created by cinematography and editing contributes to the impact of the films you have studied for this topic.

‘To find an international audience, films about local and particular problems need to use mainstream techniques such as those associated with Hollywood cinema.’ How far do you agree with this statement in relation to the films you have studied for this topic?

In fact this type of question did not come up last year and so is a good one to revise as it may be on the paper this year.

In a question like this you need to discuss your understanding of the cinematic features of Italian Neo Realism and Cinema Novo.

Here are the posters we made on those two topics.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CONTEXT

Another question type (that also wasn’t in last year’s paper) is something like this:

How far have your contextual studies been important in understanding the specific urban locations and life experiences represented in the films you have studied for this topic?

How far should the films you have studied for this topic be seen in relation to their particular time and place?

Here you will have to be able to talk about 3-4 political, historical, social or artist contexts which you have researched and which have helped you understand the films. Here are the revision slideshows we worked on in class:

Additionally here are some mind maps that develop ideas about some of the key contexts in The Bicycle Thieves and City of God.

Contexts Folder 

REPRESENTATION OF THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT:

Another question, which crops up regularly is something like this:

Explore how stylistic choices contribute to the representation of the urban experience in the films you have studied for this topic.

What is the importance of cinematography and/or editing in communicating issues of power, poverty and conflict in the films you have studied for this topic?

These essays require you to have a really good knowledge of the specific micro techniques that the directors use to communicate their themes (messages and values).

Here are the micro analysis we did for key scenes – here is a link to the textual analysis form we used.

Bicycle Thieves Analysis

City of God Analysis

NARRATIVE

Here is a worksheet on narrative which explains it more precisely.

Italian Neo Realism Style & Meaning.

Here is a really excellent lecture by Professor David Thorburn on Italian Neo Realism as evident in The Bicycle Thieves (1948) De Sica.

He does a close analysis of the opening scene, from the moment Antonio takes the job until his initial meeting with Maria. He also elaborates later in the lecture on some of the key features of Italian Neo Realism and how it is responding to the social, political and cultural crisis in Italy at that time.

Here are my notes based on his lecture (which doesn’t replace watching the lecture yourself). The quotes can be attributed to him.

Here is part 2 of the lecture for some extended study:

Bicycle Thieves Close Study

Here is some analysis of the Bicycle Thieves:

  • Post World War 2 Rome as represented in The Bicycle Thieves

  • The (disintegrating?) relationship of Antonio and Bruno


  • The Bicycle Thieves as an example of a Neo Realist Text

  • As a damning indictment of the fascist legacy and Hollywood glamour

  • A narrative analysis of The Bicycle Thieves (positioning, structure, themes and conflicts)

 

The Bicycle Thieves (1948) de Sica

We are studying this film because of its importance and influence on later European Cinema including the French Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) and later British Social Realism.

It is also a good companion piece to City of God because Cinema Novo was heavily influenced by and grew out of Italian Neo Realism. Like City of God, it shows a city in crisis and the impact that has on the inhabitants. Just like City of God, the protagonists are trapped and disenfranchised in a city that has marginalised them (pushed them aside and forgotten about them). Here are some of the key contexts that are evident in the film, which we need to research.

Please complete your notes in your booklets.

  • The film is set in Italy just after World War II, a devastated society, with unemployment running at 25-30%!
  • It shows us a defeated country that is unsure about its future.
  • The film shows us people who were promised so much by the facist government, but badly lets down.
  • It explores a country and people that are fractured and defeated
  • The institutional powers (Government, Police & Church) are broken down and offer no help to the protagonists.
  • It is about a working class that is struggling to survive.
  • It’s about the degrading, humiliating and corrupting influence of living in such a society has on the people forced into the margins (the disenfranchised)

An brief overview of Italian Neo Realism:

Here is a great lecture given by MIT Professor David Thorburn, who covers:

  • The context of post WWII Italy
  • The features and ‘density’ of Italian Neo Realism (28.00 – 34.15)
  • The cinema of Fascist Italy that the film was reacting to

The topics which you are going to present on the Bicycle Thieves and the contexts surrounding it are:

  1. Rita Heyworth & Hollywood glamour
    1. American Film Noir movies of the 1930’s & 1940’s
    2. Italian Cinema during the Mussolini Era
  2. A confident self assured fascist Italy under Mussolini and a defeated Italy at the end of WWII
  3. The cinematic movement called ‘Italian Neo Realism’
    1. Who were the big directors and films of that movement?
    2. What were they trying to say?
    3. How did they seek to use cinematic technique to suit their political agenda?

OUR CONTEXT RESEARCH

Hollywood Glamour

Italy under Mussolini and defeated Italy at the end of WWII

‘Italian Neo Realism’ a primer:

Presentations on Bicycle Thieves (1948) De Sica

This week you will be working in small groups or pairs on a presentation of an aspect of Bicycle Thieves. You will be presenting on one of the following elements of the film.

Post World War 2 Rome as represented in The Bicycle Thieves

The (disintegrating?) relationship of Antonio and Bruno

The Bicycle Thieves as an example of a Neo Realist Text

As a damning indictment of the fascist legacy and Hollywood glamour

 

A narrative analysis of The Bicycle Thieves (structure & conflicts)

 

Miss Hales Class Presentations

Please prepare a presentation that can be embedded into this blog as a revision guide for the whole class. You should use Prezi, Google Slide, Voice Thread or another presentation tool, which allows you to use images from the film as well as add notes or a voice over.