How ‘loss and attachment’ form the narrative of movies in the 1950s

From time to time, filmmaking and themes of filmmaking has evolved and changed. It is interesting to note that the change that happens in one film industry often inspires others too.”Loss and attachment” has been a popular theme of early movies.

It is important to understand that movies back in the day, especially the movies dealing with neo-realism used to deal with ‘loss and attachment. To understand this, one can take the case of pioneer movies of these genre – Apu trilogy, Bicycle Thieves and Do BighaZameen. All the three movies deal with the sense of loss. Antonio loses his bicycle to a thief in The bicycle thieves. The bicycle is the only means for his family’s well-being and his job.

Shambhu loses his family land that is 2 acres to the local zamindarin Do BighaZameen. He struggles to save the land which he equals to his mother. Apu loses his father, sister, and Inder to life sorrows and struggles in PatherPanchali. All of these people stand close to his heart. Protagonists in all the three movies suffer oppression from people belonging to higher classes. A neighboring woman accuses Durga of stealing, the unsympathetic boss of Antonio refuses to give him some time to buy a bicycle and the zamindar cons Shambhu to retrieve his land. The higher and privileged class people are seen harassing the poor and struggling lot.

Sins and wrong-doings: In Bicycle Thieves, Antonio becomes a thief himself in an attempt to save his bicycle. Shambhu’s son also attains the habit of pick-pocketing when he goes to the city. Durga also steals a necklace which she was accused of. This is revealed in the end. This is yet another similarity in these three movies. The Bicycle Thieves is set in the post- WII times, the time when industrialisation and urbanisation were taking the world. PatherPanchali also depicts urbanisation through the train scene and when Apu decides to move to the outskirts for better opportunities. Similarly we see city life through Shambhu when he goes to Kolkata to earn money. We also know that the village is being urbanised when zamindar wants to occupy Shambhu’s land to sell it to industrialist.

Final loss: It is very similar in all the three movies that what these protagonists had been struggling for, finally goes away. Shambhu loses his land, Antonio isn’t able to get his bicycle back, and Apu loses his father and sister. Everything they had been fighting for is loss in the end. They are left with despair and resentment.

Back to top button