1. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)Easily one of the most famous portrayals of the Great Depression by John Ford, based on the classic novel of John Steinbeck. During the crisis, thousands of smallholder farmers have been displaced, as the economic recession and the natural disasters push them to the edge. It captures the helplessness and the range of emotions of the family which is forced to leave everything behind with the little (or nothing) they have. As they start their journey to California, the movie becomes an early road movie: obstacles, solutions and even bigger obstacles our heroes have to face. It is a classic portrayal of struggling families, where each person has their own role and task in order for the family to survive.
2. Bicycle Thieves (1948)It is a cult classic of Italian neorealism, a genre that is focusing on authenticity, the unsung, ordinary heroes, not the winners of society, but rather the underdogs. It was selected into the legendary list of Expo58: The 12 Best Films of All Time. Bicycle Thieves was directed by Vittorio de Sica and written by Cesare Zavattini. The main character is Antonio, who is living in post-war, economically collapsed Rome. He just got a job, which requires a bicycle, fortunately, he has one. But he can’t be happy for long, because his bike is stolen not long after. The movie focuses on this day when he is wandering in Rome, looking for his bike which could mean some sort of financial stability for him and his family. The visual language of the film is quite raw: they tried to shoot in the field as much as they can, with natural lights and mostly amateur actors in order to create authenticity.