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The Icicle Thief

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The Icicle Thief is a 1989 Italian film directed by and starring Maurizio Nichetti, alongside Caterina Sylos Labini and Federico Rizzo. The film is a meta-comedy that combines political satire, social commentary, and cinematic parody to create a unique and engaging experience that expertly blends humor with themes of class struggle and art.

The story begins with a television executive (played by Nichetti) desperately trying to find new content to broadcast to the masses. He stumbles upon a screening of a classic neorealist film from the 1950s, called The Bicycle Thief, and decides to air it on his channel. However, as he prepares to broadcast the film, he realizes that he has accidentally replaced the reels with those of a new ad campaign for a line of refrigerators, titled The Icicle Thief.

As the film-within-a-film plays out on screen, it becomes clear that it is a spoof of the original neorealist film, with comedic overtones that highlight the absurdity of the situation. The actors playing the characters in the film begin to interact with the ad campaign, using the refrigerators as props, and the line between reality and fiction begins to blur.

As the satire continues, the film begins to delve into deeper themes surrounding class struggle and the nature of modern art. The upper-class characters in the ad campaign are pitted against the working-class characters in the neorealist film, and the conflict between them becomes a commentary on the larger societal issues at play. Meanwhile, the director of the neorealist film, portrayed by Rizzo, becomes increasingly frustrated with the commercialization of his art and begins to protest the airing of the altered version of his film.

Despite its meta-narrative structure, The Icicle Thief manages to maintain a strong sense of humor and wit throughout. The film's parody of both neorealism and advertising is cleverly executed, with moments of slapstick comedy and sharp satire that keep the audience engaged from start to finish. The performances are all excellent, particularly Nichetti's multi-layered portrayal of the television executive, and the film's playful use of intertextuality highlights its self-awareness and intelligence.

Ultimately, The Icicle Thief is a thought-provoking and entertaining film that balances humor with social commentary in a way that is both engaging and accessible. Its unique blend of neorealism, meta-comedy, and satire makes it a standout film in Italian cinema and a must-see for anyone interested in the art of film-making.

The Icicle Thief is a Comedy movie released in 1989. It has a runtime of 90 min. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.0..

Maurizio Nichetti
Maurizio Nichetti, Caterina Sylos Labini, Federico Rizzo, Heidi Komarek, Renato Scarpa, Carlina Torta, Massimo Sacilotto, Claudio G. Fava
Also starring Maurizio Nichetti
The Icicle Thief is available on .