Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The humble bicycle

In Vittorio De Sica's film Bicycle Thieves (1948) our beloved and most humble form or trasportation is for the central character Antonio Ricci, his means of survival. The only way in which this depraved husband and father of young son Bruno can fulfill his job as a poster-sticker, is if he owns his own bicycle. A greatest and most tragic dilemma occurs when on his first day of his newly acquired job, his bicycle, his life line, is stolen. Desperate and helpless, Antonio and his devoted son pace the streets of Rome in an attempt to recover this item that is most precious to the both of them. The Bicycle.
A Scene from Bicycle Thieves

The journey to find the bicycle becomes more than a rescue operation to discover the wherabouts of their captured item; the father and son relationship is tested and ultimately rocked. Antonio, in his angst steals a bike, resorting to the very act that deprived him of a livelihood. As a consequence, this bit of metal with two rickety wheels, handle bars and an un-comfortable seat; this 'thing' to get from place to place challenges the trust and faith between the two sorrowful characters. Antonio is humiliated and scorned by the un-sympathetic public and Bruno is left completely devastated and inconsolable; the great man he believed in is no longer. And what for? A Bicycle.

It is easy to forget the meaning of 'things.' Their place in our lives looses it's significance. We become accustomed to them, they are always reassuringly there, waiting for us at the end of the day, just as we left them. In an age when we have so much and are able to add to this 'muchness' at the swipe of a plastic card, or even a simple click of a button, we should take a thought for the 'things,' because one day we might actaully need them, and they may just not be there.

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