The issues raised by neorealist theory appear in a scattered fashion throughout the literature, and it is not easy to find a single succinct statement of the issues. comes the closest to providing one.
The best general overview. It covers realist and neorealist theory at a level suitable for more-mature undergraduates or beginning graduate students. The bibliographic essays are especially helpful.
Extras are not as extensive as one might have hoped - no commentary and the first disc houses only the feature film. On Disc 2 there are three featurettes (almost 2 hours in total) - each offered with optional English subtitles. lasts about 22 minutes and is a collection of interviews with screenwriter Suso Cecchi D'Amico, actor Enzo Staiola (Bruno), and film scholar Callisto Cosulich. I found it enjoyable and interesting. runs about 40 minutes giving good background on the history of Italian neorealism hosted by scholar Mark Shiel. Finally there is an hour-long documentary simply called about the screenwriter and longtime Vittorio De Sica collaborator. It is directed by Carlo Lizzani and has input from many sources. Scenarist Cesare Zavattini also collaborated on , , and , each highly regarded classics in the neorealist vein. The featurettes make a keen base for learning about De Sica's legendary film expressions and the man himself. Included in the package is an 80-page book featuring 2 theory essays by Andre Bazin and Cesare Zavattini and a more extensive section entitled with writings by De Sica, Sergio Leone and others. It has many black and white photos on pastel colored pages.
Enjoying: another way to enjoy: you might take a look at a short essay prompted when I was researching neo-realist films: . That’s a hard question, but one that it’s fun to consider.
This is a city film: the individual among and against the many. When I think of Bicycle Thieves that way, I can’t help applying the curtain line from Naked City: “There are eight million stories in the Naked City; this has been one of them.” So here, but where the Hollywood director chose an individualistic and melodramatic story of murder, the neo-realistic Marxists De Sica and Zavattini created the story of an ordinary man facing social forces bigger than he can cope with, forces that grind him down, forces embodied in the crowds that defeat him. The one facing the many. Which is truer to the human condition?
When Antonio himself steals a bicycle (becoming one of the Ladri di biciclette), he is alone and quickly outnumbered. But throughout the movie, Antononio is outnumbered: when a roomful of policemen dismiss his problem; the useless speeches, show, and suggestions at the union hall; the many sellers at the flea markets; the flea markets themselves with hundreds of bicycles and bicycle parts as against the one Antonio wants; the crowd at the church that interferes with his trying to get information from the old man; the neighborhood crowd that thwarts his capture of the thief; and finally the crowd that captures him when he himself has become a “bicycle thief.”
This film, which combines the social concerns and themes of Italian Neorealism with more expressionist sound design and visuals, expresses the pain and despair brought on by the destruction of the war and Korea's industrial development.
Be that as it may, it is part of the glory of cities to produce crowds and crowds of people. Bicycle Thieves is very much a movie of crowds. Throughout, we see crowds of people on the streets and busses and trolleys filled with people.