I sometimes have nightmares where one of my bikes is stolen. Often I leave it out of sight for a second; other times I lock it up somewhere dodgy where it sticks out like a sore thumb. The worst thing in each case is that feeling that I’ve let myself down. It may be next to impossible to find the thief but certainly isn’t possible to escape yourself.

Those are just dreams and Ladri di biciclette is just a film, but the latter is a coherent and worthwhile study of desperation, powerlessness and, I think, your responsibility to yourself and your family to act with dignity and honour nonetheless. The main character doesn’t wander around in his pyjamas, either!

Lamberto Maggiorani is remarkable in the lead role. One thing he and the entire cast excel at is being unremarkable when needed. They weren’t originally actors and the benefit of this is that there’s no over-acting. It could easily have backfired but it works spectacularly well here.

I really liked Ladri di biciclette and thoroughly recommend it. It’s a deeply personal film – one to watch, take what you will from it… and take or leave what others say about it!

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