Giuseppe Amato

Giuseppe Amato

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Bicycle Thieves Review


Essential
Few films have had their titles put under such intense scrutiny as Vittorio De Sica's 1948 neo-realist masterpiece. Originally, the translated title was simply The Bicycle Thief, referencing the perpetrator of the film's titular crime. However, later digging and arbitration led to it being called The Bicycle Thieves or just Bicycle Thieves, which references more to the fact the social realism, poverty and desperation that most of the men in Italy felt at the time. Ostensibly, it meant that we are all bicycle thieves, and we are all capable of doing heartless things to maintain one's own way of life.

On a street, Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani) stands with a crowd of unemployed family men, all hands-up and crying for a job. The only job available requires a bicycle and though he doesn't have one, Ricci quickly raises his hand announcing that he has such a bike. By selling the sheets off his bed, Ricci and his son Bruno (Gino Saltamerenda) are able to procure a hocked bike from a local pawn shop. And so, the man and his boy go off on their job: Pasting large posters to walls around the city. Ricci is not far into his workday when the bicycle, out of his eyeline, is stolen. Ricci and Bruno spend the rest of the day trying to catch the thief and win back employment and a better life.

Continue reading: Bicycle Thieves Review

La Dolce Vita Review


Essential
Fellini's La Dolce Vita and Antonioni's L'Avventura were the dawn of the Italian New Wave in 1960, movies about the decadence, glamour and emptiness of middle class life. Placed side by side, they're a portrayal of Rome after the post-World War II economic boom, which led to a new distribution of leisure time for the privileged.

Antonioni's world is stark, cold, confounding, and filled with dead end corners. Fellini's world is more like a circus -- and while his characters are no less doomed than Antonioni's, coming face to face with a great emptiness underneath the glamour, they'll drown with pasted smiles on their faces, dancing the conga.

Continue reading: La Dolce Vita Review

La Dolce Vita Review


Essential
Fellini's La Dolce Vita and Antonioni's L'Avventura were the dawn of the Italian New Wave in 1960, movies about the decadence, glamour and emptiness of middle class life. Placed side by side, they're a portrayal of Rome after the post-World War II economic boom, which led to a new distribution of leisure time for the privileged.

Antonioni's world is stark, cold, confounding, and filled with dead end corners. Fellini's world is more like a circus -- and while his characters are no less doomed than Antonioni's, coming face to face with a great emptiness underneath the glamour, they'll drown with pasted smiles on their faces, dancing the conga.

Continue reading: La Dolce Vita Review

Umberto D. Review


Good
Hankering to feel like crap? You need to spend more time with the Italian cinema of the 1950s, and Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D. would be a great place to start.

Shot four years after his famous The Bicycle Thief, De Sica returns to his roots with a vengeance. No longer content to put a lower-class laborer into an even deeper hellhole, this time the melodramatic director gives us a dying old man, his dog, and a pregnant maid, none of whom are destined for futures we'd describe as happy. Old man Umberto (played by non-actor Carlo Battisti; none of the cast in the film are pros) is so poor is landlady rents out his room during the day to prostitutes to help with the bills. (It's just as well; he's looking for someone to take his puppy so he can off himself.)

Continue reading: Umberto D. Review

Giuseppe Amato

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