“The Bicycle Thief”
The era when bicycles were a ray of hope for survival.

Bicycle theft. Everyone would want to avoid this worst-case scenario. We carefully select parts and body materials, striving to reduce weight to the gram, yet chain locks for theft prevention weigh 500 grams, which seems counterproductive. Bicycle thieves are unforgivable. They should disappear from this world.

There is an old film called “Bicycle Thief” (1948). It was directed by Vittorio De Sica (known for ” Sunflower” filmed in the sunflower fields of Ukraine). This film depicts the poignant lives of Italian laborers after the war.

The stage is post-World War II Rome. The aftermath of the war has brought a severe economic downturn, and our protagonist, Antonio, has been jobless for two years. His family is on the brink of starvation, and he desperately needs to find work. Through a referral from the employment agency, he finds a job as a poster hanger, but there’s one condition – he needs a bicycle. Antonio had pawned his bicycle, but with the help of his family, he manages to retrieve it. Filled with hope, he loads his work tools onto the bicycle and sets off to work with high spirits. It’s a chance for a better life.

However, hope is short-lived as, on his first day, his bicycle gets stolen (What a disaster!). Losing the bicycle means losing the job. Together with his son, he searches the town, but the bicycle remains elusive.

Mamma Mia! Antonio is at a loss.

In his despair, he stumbles upon a bicycle without a lock.

“With a bicycle, I can work again,” Antonio realizes.

Unable to resist the devil’s temptation, Antonio commits a sin. Who can blame him for his wrongdoing? Yet, the owner of the bicycle knows nothing of Antonio’s circumstances. Poor Antonio is brutally beaten in front of his son.

Strangely, when watching the movie, one finds oneself feeling sympathy and cheering for the man who committed the crime. Despite being such an unforgivable bicycle thief. How do those who love bicycles feel when they watch this film? I highly recommend finding out for yourself.

Text_Hideki Inoue

I am from Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. I work as a writer and editor. My hobbies include hot baths, skiing, and fishing. Although I have no personal connection, I am independently conducting research on Shiga Prefecture. I prefer an active fishing style called “RUN & GUN,” which involves moving around actively instead of staying in one place. I am planning to purchase a car to transport my bicycle to adopt this style, which might seem a bit counterproductive.

“Izakaya Choji”
The coolness of Ken-san riding a bicycle on the slopes of Hakodate.

When I was traveling through Hokkaido by train, there was a peculiar announcement. It warned us to be careful because the name of the next station had changed for a drama shoot. The atmosphere in the train buzzed with excitement. It was a popular drama set in Furano, Hokkaido. The train arrived at the station, but we passed what seemed to be the film crew. Then, in the corner of the platform, I saw a tall man. Even though he had a hat pulled down low, I immediately recognized him as Ken Takakura. Perhaps he had come to visit the filming location of an old friend (Kunie Tanaka). Acknowledging our gaze, Ken-san shyly raised his hand in greeting. It was an overwhelming coolness. Since then, although not from the same generation, I started watching films starring Ken Takakura.

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“Shoot for tomorrow!”(origin title “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”)
Tragic Prelude: Carefree Moments on a Bicycle

Occasionally, we come across wonderful Japanese titles for great movies. For example, “An Officer and A Gentleman” becomes ” A Journey of Love and Youth ” in Japan. It’s filled with youth and love. Don’t you want to watch it? The Japanese title for “THE BODY” is ” Stand by Me “. I’m glad I don’t have to say, “You know, River Phoenix had the potential to become a big star even in the time of ‘THE BODY’.” It’s a great title taken from the iconic song by Ben E. King that’s used in the film.

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“Project A”
Immerse in an exhilarating bike chase.

In the early 1990s, China had a completely different landscape compared to today. During the morning and evening rush hours, one could witness the famous “bicycle rush hour” that was synonymous with China at the time. Many people used bicycles for commuting, creating a breathtaking sight of thousands of people riding the same roads. Moreover, since most bicycles were of the same model and color, there was a sense of harmony. Brands like “Fenghuang” and “Yongjiu” from Shanghai were quite popular. These bicycles were tough and sturdy, serving as the essential means of transportation to support people’s daily lives.

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