Mis En Scene In The Bicycle Thief

1482 words, 6 pages

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However, as soon as his bicycle is stolen, Antonio’s appearance seems to become increasingly disheveled in correlation with his continuously bleaker economic outlook. His suit becomes wrinkled, dirty, and wet from rain to the point that his impoverishment is obvious from his appearance alone. The wardrobe of his son, Bruno, and wife, Maria, are equally indicative of their financial troubles. Costuming further accentuates their poverty by contrasting their attire with that of the upper class. De Sica most clearly illustrates this in the scene in which Bruno and Antonio dine in an upscale restaurant. Their relative poverty becomes obvious when De Sica juxtaposes Bruno’s clothing with that of a wealthy child at another table. Bruno’s jacket appears dirty and ill-fitting in addition to having a hole in it. Meanwhile, the child across the restaurant wears a clean and proper jacket and shirt. Additionally, the quality of Antonio’s grey and wrinkled blazer pales in comparison even to the suit of the waiter who is serving him. It becomes clear by comparison that the Riccis live in abject poverty relative to the upper class. Additionally, this scene touches on the theme of alienation and not belonging, as the two seem blatantly out of place given their clothing. The wealthy child even gives Bruno a glance of disgust, motivated at least partially by the Ricci son’s shoddy appearance.
The use of the props of bicycles contributes to the film’s representation of the topics of destitution and alienation just as much as costuming. The bicycle as a prop demonstrates the neediness of families like the Riccis very early in the film. For one, Maria’s wife pawns off the family’s bed linens so that Antonio may purchase a bicycle. The fact that a simple object such as a bicycle could arise such inte View More »

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