Bicycle Thieves, the 1948 masterpiece by Vittorio De Sica, has been selected for Cannes Classics 2018. The section also features a homage to two key female figures in the history of cinema, Alice Guy and Jane Fonda, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, that will be screened in a restored 70mm print as conforming to the original and presented by Christopher Nolan. Bicycle Thieves will be screened in a restored version to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Restoration was made by the L’immagine ritrovata lab and promoted by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Stefano Libassi’s Compass Film, in collaboration with Arthur Cohn, Euro Immobilfin, Artedis, and with the support of Istituto Luce-Cinecittà.
A key title of Italian Neorealism, Oscar for Best Foreign-language film in 1950, Bicycle Thieves is inspired by the eponymous novel by Luigi Bartolini. The script was penned by Vittorio De Sica and, of course, Cesare Zavattini, besides Oreste Biancoli, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Adolfo Franci, Gherardo Gherardi, and Gerardo Guerrieri. Led by a cast of non-professional actors, Bicycle Thieves, according to André Bazin, is “the ideal centre around which all the other great Neorealist directors gravitate”. Vittorio De Sica stated: “My aim is to find the drama in the daily occurrences, the marvelous in the smallest facts which are considered as a worn-out subject by the majority of people. What’s important about the theft of a bicycle, anything but new and shiny furthermore? Every day in Rome a large number of bicycles get stolen and nobody cares about it, because in the evaluation of the give and take of a big city, who can be bothered about a bicycle? Still, for many others who don’t own anything else, who use it to go to work and keep it as their only support in the turmoil of the city life, losing a bicycle is an important event, a tragic and disastrous one. Why picking extraordinary adventures when what passes in front of our eyes and happens to the most ill-equipped among us is so full of real anguish? Literature has already discovered this modern dimension that underlined the smallest things, those moods that are considered too common. Cinema has the camera as the most suitable mean to detect it. Its sensitivity belongs to this nature, and that’s also how I understand this much-debated realism.”
Created over fifteen years ago and become an essential component of the festival, Cannes Classics continues its exploration of the history of cinema by screening both documentaries produced in 2018 and great classics presented by producers, distributors, foundations, and filmmakers who work to protect the past and give it a new life. The program also features The Eyes of Orson Welles by film historian and critic Mark Cousins: a journey through the painting world of Orson Welles, its drawings, paintings and juvenile works brought to the big screen thanks to his daughter Beatrice Welles; Margarethe von Trotta’s homage to Ingmar Bergman, Searching for Ingmar Bergman; Fernando Solanas’ The Hour of le Furnaces (1968); Alfted Hitchcock’s Vertigo starring James Stewart and Kim Novak to be screen at the Cinéma de la Plage.