Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Vittorio De Sica made this classic post-war story set in Italy about a father whose bicycle is stolen. The script is by Oreste Biancoli, based on Luigi Bartolini’s novel. It is a cinema verite gem, shot in black and white and featuring regular people in the street scenes. The father, Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani) depends on his bicycle for work. Together with his son, Bruno (Enzo Staiola) they set out to find it. It is a journey story that will open and break your heart. One scene offers a pause and some calm in the frenetic narrative. Antonio takes Bruno into a restaurant and buys him a meal. It is mozzarella tramezzini, or mozzarella in carrozza bread—a grilled cheese sandwich. The smile on the boy's face reveals the bond between father and son, even when he notices all the other more elaborate meals being served to other customers in the restaurant.