By Geo Ong
This Wednesday marks the anniversary of the passing of Vittorio De Sica, one of Italy’s most important filmmakers. De Sica was especially important in the rise and influence of the Italian Neorealist tradition.
In the late 1940s, Italy’s economic and metropolitan landscapes were barren from years of war. De Sica wanted to tell the stories of his fellow countrypeople, those who were poor, sick, suffering, and unable to find work. De Sica and his crew were also in need of money; they couldn’t afford film sets or the hiring of professional actors, so they employed nonprofessionals and they shot scenes in real apartments or on the streets themselves. These techniques unsurprisingly captured a new, grittier kind of realism, and his two most well-known films, Bicycle Thieves and Umberto D., are legendary examples.