Saturday, December 04, 2010

Ladri di Biciclette

I watched The Bicycle Thieves years ago and had a hard time deciding if it was as great as people said. In the end, I didn't even think it was good. I guess I was a bit confused by the film. Of course I had high hopes before watching it, what with it being on every top ten list ever made, winning an Oscar and getting rave reviews from every film critic from every generation.

And I was disappointed. I remember watching the word 'FINE' appear on screen and me saying, "That's fucking it?" in disbelief. I thought it was a bit too simple for my liking. And I refused to write a review on it, because I didn't really have anything nice to say about the film, and I was afraid people (read : the 2 people that read this blog) would call me shallow and stupid.

In short, I thought The Bicycle Thieves was extremely overrated and people who praised it were mere sheep who would agree on everything if it would make them look smart and artsy-fartsy. For me, it took only one reputable film critic to give a standing ovation and the whole world would follow suit, because those who don't would be seen as fools. It's the Emperor's New Clothes all over again. Only in this case there was no child to point out that The Bicycle Thief was a naked emperor and so the fable went on.

Boy was I misguided then.

A lot of things have changed since then.

I went to Italy for a month. Alone. And I fell in love with the people, the food, the language, the scenery, the everything.

I took up Italian for a whole year.

I watched other neo-realist and new wave movies and loved a lot of them.

I learned that Hollywood was far from being the barycenter of arts and films. And the Oscars were just rich Hollywood people giving awards to each other, completely overlooking the stuff that really counted.

I started reading philosophy.

All in all, I grew up.

So the other day, I revisited The Bicycle Thieves with a blank slate in mind. Now that I was in a different place mentally and spiritually, I would love to watch it from a different point of view and give it another chance at blowing me away.

And I was pleasantly surprised. No, I was baffled. I was completely blown away by it. The irony is (I love irony), the thing that I hated about the film is now the thing that makes me find it so special : the simplicity!

I still don't think it's the best film of all time. But it definitely ranks high on my list.

ps : The boy in the movie was so expressive, more so than his dad. I'd love to pinch those chubby cheeks. Haha. I do have a question though : Did his dad really make him drink wine? He was 7 for God's sake!


CremeBrulee said...

I like your writing style dude. Is the bicycle thief in black and white? That's the one I saw on IMDB. Have you ever seen the man from earth? I recently watched that and found it to be very interesting.

Kahuna said...

Yes, the bicycle thieves is in black and white. it was released in 1947.

I've never seen the man from earth, but IMDB told me that it's a sci-fi movie and I'm not really a big sci-fi fan.