A movie director decides to pay homage to Italian Neo-Realism with an ingenious parody of De Sica's Bicycle Thief. After a disaterous first broadcast, the film looks set to flop when it unexpectedly takes on a life of it's own and the poverty-stricken characters infiltrate the world of the rich through adverts and the director must step into his own film to restore creative order.
When filmmakers start contemplating the mysteries of their cinematic navels, the lint is seldom of little interest to anyone else. While The Icicle Thief, with its dual preoccupations of cinema history and the medium's uneasy co-existence with television, is therefore of inherently limited appeal, it is nonetheless a carefully crafted and wonderfully played comedy.
Funnyman Maurizio Nichetti is the movie director who decides to pay homage to Italian Neo-Realism with an ingenious parody of De Sica's Bicycle Thief. The film's first TV broadcast, however, quickly deteriorates into pure nightmare. Nichetti is dismissed by a callous presenter and his art mercilessly hacked to shreds by a slew of abrasive commercials - all the time the impoverished family of the film within the film are struggling for their daily cabbage, a procession of Technicolor bathing beauties, fluorescent superheroes, and hyperactive nippers sell their wares during the numerous breaks. The proceedings continue to deteriorate until, unexpectedly, the film takes on a life of its own.
As in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose Of Cairo, Nichetti's characters desert their economic hardships by stepping out of the movie and into the adverts and, to save the day, director Nichetti must physically enter his own movie to return the story to its original design. Not to everyone's taste but infectious, anarchic, and inspired in its own little way.
Not to everyone's taste but infectious, anarchic, and inspired in its own little way.