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Slideshow

PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

THE BICYCLE THIEF & PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE

Monday, August 29

THE BICYCLE THIEF
12:30   4:10   7:50

PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE
2:20   6:00   9:45

DOUBLE FEATURE: Two films for one admission. Tickets purchased entitle patrons to stay and see the following film at no additional charge.

THE BICYCLE THIEF

Directed by Vittorio De Sica

(1948) In a devastated postwar Italy, even a job posting bills for a Rita Hayworth movie looks good to an unemployed man, worth pawning the sheets to get that indispensable bike out of hock. And when it’s suddenly stolen, it’s time for the man and his little son to take a desperate odyssey through the looming street’s of monument-less Rome. Not the sort of subject rife in the studio-bound “white telephone” cinema of the fascist years; but as the war ebbed, “neorealism” – simple stories of the poor, shot on location with non-professionals – came to the fore. But not made by film school grads: director De Sica was the reigning superstar of romantic comedies and musicals – as if Cary Grant or Fred Astaire took a break to make an indie in Hoboken. While David O. Selznick suggested Grant for the lead, De Sica cast it with complete neophytes: father Lamberto Maggiorani was a factory worker who’d brought his son to audition; mom Lianella Carnel a journalist come to interview De Sica; while 8-year-old Enzo Staiola was picked out of the crowd at an early location shoot. (Hollywood’s Production Code Authority shot itself in the foot when it squawked over that echt neorealist moment when the little boy pees against a wall.) A statement of warmth, humor, and humanity whose universality transcends time and place, Ladri di Biciclette (plural in the original – it makes a difference) was attacked in Italy as giving too negative a view, but still won the Italian Best Picture equivalent, New York Film Critics’ prize, and Best Foreign Film Oscar. DCP. Approx. 90 mins.
12:30, 4:10, 7:50

“PERHAPS THE QUINTESSENTIAL WORK OF ITALIAN NEOREALISM. Revealing the catastrophic impact of seemingly minor events on people who are struggling to subsist, De Sica endows slender side business and incidental pictorial details with high suspense and tragic grandeur. He transforms the sheer scale of the city and the vast number of residents in similarly desperate straits into A SYMPHONIC LAMENT FOR THE HUMAN CONDITION.”
– Richard Brody, New Yorker
Click here to read full article.

“One of art film's most powerful gateway drugs, still haunting in its painful simplicity, laced with the unforgettable behavioral moments that may be De Sica's greatest claim to posterity.”
– Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
Click here to read full article.

The Bicycle Thief  [aka Bicycle Thieves] is so well entrenched as an official masterpiece that it is startling to visit it again after many years and realize that it is still alive and has strength and freshness. Given an honorary Oscar for 1949, routinely voted one of the greatest films of all time, revered as one of the foundation stones of Italian neorealism, it is a simple, powerful film… When the British film magazine Sight & Sound held its first international poll of filmmakers and critics in 1952, it was voted the greatest film of all time. The poll is held every ten years; by 1962, it was down to a tie for sixth, and then it dropped off the list. The restored print [allows] a new generation to see how simple, direct, and true it is – ‘what was so special about it.’”
– Roger Ebert

“ONE OF THE GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME.”
–  Pauline Kael

“MORE RELEVANT, MORE POWERFUL, MAYBE MORE REAL THAN EVER.”
– A.O. Scott

“A MASTERPIECE.”
– J. Hoberman

PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE

Directed by Tim Burton

(1985) Poignant, heart-wrenching tale of a man's search for his indispensable bicycle – of course the man we’re talking about is not Lamberto Maggiorano (see The Bicycle Thief above), but Pee-wee Herman!  En route he gets a ride from escaped con Judd Omen, looks for the basement of the Alamo, and Hollywood films his life story, with star James Brolin. Tim Burton’s first feature (see Ed Wood at FIlm Forum this coming Friday). 35mm. Approx. 90 mins.
2:20, 6:00, 9:45