DVD The Italian [DVD] [2007] [Multilingual] (DVD 1121807),
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The Italian [DVD] [2007] [Multilingual]

  • PG-13
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • Despite the title, THE ITALIAN is actually a Russian film set at a bleak orphanage in rural Russia. The story opens when six-year-old Vanya Solntsev (Kolya Spiridonov) is introduced to an Italian couple who are hoping to adopt a child. Vanya is a handsome, bright-eyed little boy, and the couple takes an instant liking to him, agreeing to give him a home. It is quite clear to the other children, and to little Vanya, that he is in an extremely enviable position. The adoption by the Italians will take Vanya away from the miserable conditions of the orphanage, where the teenagers run a mini-Mafia, taking candy from the children and doling out beatings whenever anyone withholds money from them.

    Vanya is nervous, though accepting of his fate, until the mother of another orphan comes to reclaim her son, and she is told he has already been adopted. After she is forced off the premises, the woman commits suicide. When Vanya learns of this, he is desperate to find out whether or not his own real mother is still out there. But the greedy adoption agent, known as "Madam" (Maria Kuznetsova), is determined to give Vanya to the Italians, who will pay her a generous sum for him. With the help of another orphan, Vanya makes his escape. He sets off for the address of the orphanage where his mother first left him, hoping to find some answers. While the plot of the ITALIAN may be small-scale, it packs an enormous emotional punch, and Spiridonov's performance is heartbreaking in its realism. The sight of the little boy racing through the grubby streets is reminiscent of another Italian, the round-cheeked Bruno of THE BICYCLE THIEF. Like little Bruno, Vanya will make your heart race with horror and hope, as he struggles to grasp the harsh realities of the adult world.
    • Rating - for some violence, sexual content, language and thematic issues.
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 17088

  • Credits
    Denis Moiseenko, Kolya Spiridonov, Sasha Sirotkin, Andrei Yelizarov, Vladimir Shipov, Mariya Kuznetsova, Yuri Itskov
  • Critic Reviews
    "THE ITALIAN is a confidently assured debut feature....The picture captures with a piercing sympathy the ambiguous state of post-Glasnost Russia....A beautifully modulated film."
    Box Office

    "[The film] pulls you into a richly atmospheric, persuasively inhabited world teeming with foundlings and pathos."
    New York Times

    "Director Andrei Kravchuk has a fine eye for desolate spaces, and he works with rigor as well as compassion."
    Movieline's Hollywood Life

    "[With] brisk storytelling and moving performances, especially from the self-possessed Spiridonov." -- Grade: B
    Entertainment Weekly

    4 stars out of 5 -- "Vividly characterised and convincingly acted, it makes for a fascinating portrait of post-Communist society beset by crime and despair."
    Total Film

    3 stars out of 5 -- "THE ITALIAN ably captures the post-democratic disillusionment that facilitates the older inmates' Fagin-like criminal network..."

    "[A]n engrossing melodrama with a satisfyingly poignant resolution, enhanced by the sharp pacing of its later sequences."
    Sight and Sound

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