Neorealism in The Bicycle Thief

In neorealistic movies such as De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief, the filmmaker dealt with providing accurate information on social, political, and economic conditions in post-war Italy. In addition, the movie makers wanted to demonstrate the extent to which citizens suffered under the despotic Fascist regime of Mussolini. De Sica also wanted to expose the physical hunger and mental despair that were common themes in most countries in the world. He named the brand name of the stolen bicycle “Fides”, which denotes “faith”. By having it stolen, De Sica demonstrated that the faith that Italians had among themselves was lost. In order to provide a sense of realism to his movie, De Sica ensured that the run time for each story was natural and uninterrupted.

Similarly, Ray projects the Roy family in the rural areas as poor and suffering social anguish. The family lives a simple life and has no access to essentials such as telephones. In most scenes, the stories are complete and flow with minimal interruptions. For example, when Apu and Durga escape the harsh lives in the village, there is no interruption of the footage. The audience is able to follow the movement of the two from the moment they leave the village to the time they encounter a train. Thus, one can argue that the story times of Ray’s Pather Panchali are similar to those of other Italian-based neorealistic films. Most critics have identified the story time aspect as one of the greatest similarities between Ray’s film and other neorealism creations.