Subject Ricci's Desperate Wandering fo
Posted by Irene Hsu
Posted on Mon May 1 21:31:01 2000
From IP  

Irene Hsu
Literature Criticism
Kate Liu
Ricci's Desperate Wandering for Bicycle
The Bicycle Thief, a film, reflects the tragedy of neo-realism. The time of this film was set up after War World II in Italy. At that time, the economic situation made lower people have to struggle with living their life. Because of the war, however, the capitalist controlled the whole economy, and they got more and more power to earn more and more money. In the meanwhile, the working-class people became powerless under the surpassed of the capitalism. Thus, when the lower-class people need money, they need to exchange their labor or what they only have in their life with the capitalists.
Lower-class people are determined to only pursuit for their material life, but nothing else, such as developing their own interests or awaring their own consciousness of themselves. According to Marx's statement, "Consciousness does not determine life; life determine consciousness" is the best expression for lower-class people to live in the capitalist society. For poor people, they only concern about how to support their family or their basic necessity for life. So that their could not develop their higher consciousness of what they were or what their interests are. In other word, the consciousness the poors had was how to stabilize their present life. The film of The Bicycle Thief could give us a good example of how the reality lead the poor people into fixed life of only pursuing the material life not spiritual one.
At the beginning of The Bicycle Thief, a crowd of unemployed workers (each of them all tries to find a way to survive with their life) represents the socio-economic situation at that time. We could see the working people's hardship and what they have to sacrifice in order to get the job. The character, Ricci has the chance to get the job of hanging posters. However, the prerequisite for the job is that Ricci must own a bicycle. Here, it was the example, which showed how the power of capitalism controls the working people's life. Among the group of working people, capitalist had the power to choose what the labor they want. On the contrary, the life the working people are only determined by the powerful employers. Therefore, Rucci rushes back his house to get the money to buy a bicycle.
Then, Ricci and his wife decide to exchange her wedding clothes and the bed sheets in the hock. Here, we can see the relationship between the husband and wife. Ricci's wife is forced to pawn the stuffs. It shows the wife's inferiority in the family and society. The wife in the film only appears before the bike is stolen. In the traditional society, woman is only the role for supporting the family and the husband.
The pawn was a place for the owner to exploit the customers and to exchange the stuff with low price to make profit. However, for poor people, they could do nothing about it, because they need money to survive in life. A pawnshop was a place to present the real situation between the lower class and the class who own the power to govern the society. Money means power and people who owns power may mean everything in the society.
Finally, Ricci gets a bicycle to earn his job. Here, the bicycle was Rucci's tool to survive his life and to support his family. However, unfortunately, the first day on the new job, Ricci's bicycle is stolen. Ricci is very anxious and tries his best to look for the bicycle because without bike, Ricci will lose his job. In other word, Ricci may lose his way to survive. Therefore, Ricci and his son began a desperate wandering through the neighborhoods of the city to find the bicycle, Ironically, Ricci at first looked for Policeman's help; however, the policeman who originally should represent justice, advice Ricci to try and find the bike by himself. Again, the power of the authority governs the lower-class people's life. Then, the right of lower class is ignored by the upper class that owns the power. What the powerful people think is not only that how to exploit the lower class but also that how to make their own profit by surpass the lower class.
The scene at the restaurant also shows the difference between upper class and lower class. While Ricci and his son eat there, we could sense the different level of how to enjoy the life. A child of upper class in the restaurant often stared at Ricci and Ricci's son. It shows the discrimination that even the upper-class child will make the lower class people feel the sense of constrains. In the course of finding the bike, Ricci tries every method to research back his survive of life. However, at last, he did not succeed. Sympathetically, Ricci would like to steal other's bike; however other people catch him. Fortunately, they don't send Ricci to police station.
In the film, we can sense that Ricci's mental system is decided by his material need for the job. He only cares about his bike (Ricci losing the bike means he loses his job, too) but ignore the relationship between he and his family. That is the sympathy for people of the lower class to only focus on the material life. In order to survive in the society, they have to sacrifice their own awareness and only to struggle with their poor life. The film gives us a rough idea of Marxism and neo-realism, and how the working class do their best to survive in the capitalist society

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