Mis En Scene in the Bicycle Thief

In: Film and Music

Submitted By perrylp
Words 1502
Pages 7
Film, like any other medium, serves as a means for the communication of ideas. Motion pictures can illustrate the same points as other art forms, but do so through the use of unique techniques. Mis en scene, or what appears prior to the camera’s presence and arrangement, is one such element exclusive to film that allows for the demonstration of themes and ideals. The Italian neorealist movement of the mid twentieth century exemplifies the power of mis en scene as a manner of promoting ideas within a movie. Neorealist filmmakers used myriad methods, including nonprofessional actors and shooting on location in order to accurately portray the struggles of their country after World War II. Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thieves offers a gritty portrayal of urban hardship that stands out as a shining example of the period’s meticulous use of mis en scene. The film tells the tragic story of Antonio Ricci, who sells his sheets to afford a bike that he needs for his new job, which he has been searching for tirelessly. A thief, however, steals his bicycle shortly thereafter. Ricci strives valiantly, though to no avail, to regain possession of the bicycle, and at the film’s conclusion resorts to unsuccessfully attempting to steal another man’s. The Bicycle Thieves paints a picture of an urban man’s alienation and economic struggle. De Sica makes this possible largely through his masterful use of mis en scene. He utilizes the mis en scene elements of set, prop usage, and costuming in order to emphasize themes of urban poverty and desperation. Vittorio De Sica utilizes costumes in reflecting the financial hardship of lower class Rome. The element of costuming serves as a reflection of economic adversity quite visibly through the change in the state of Antonio Ricci’s clothes as the film progresses. Antonio exchanges his sheets for a bicycle and meets with his…...

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