- Sorry, this item is not available in
- Image not available
- To view this video download Flash Player
For most Russian orphans, the chance to be adopted is a dream come true. But six-year-old Vanya Solntsev has other hopes. After discovering his mother is still alive, the abandoned boy teaches himself to read so as to learn her address from his personal files. Before a wealthy Italian couple can claim him for their own, Vanya sets off on a perilous journey to find his only remaining family. Pursued by orphanage staff and the police, the determined runaway must now face the most difficult challenges of his young life in this incredible story inspired by true events.
The Italian, a film that aims to expose the overcrowded, impoverished conditions in Soviet state-run orphanages, is a chilling portrayal of contemporary Russian life. Director Andrei Kravchuk conveys, from inside orphanage walls, the sense of responsibility that employees feel to the children, and how desperate economic straits drive these same dedicated employees to sell their kids for a few Euros. Vanya Solntsev (Kolya Spiridonov), nicknamed "The Italian," is a six year-old abandoned at birth. His jealous peers envy his invitation from an Italian family to move to Italy, but young Vanya is determined to find his real mother, which means forfeiting this rare opportunity for adoption. Kolyan (Denis Moiseenko), the gang leader Vanya "works" for, and Natasha (Polina Vorobieva), a gentle caretaker, try to convince him otherwise through scare tactics and beatings to no avail. With the help of teen prostitute, Irka (Olga Shuvalova), Vanya learns to read and catches a train to the city, living as a runaway hunted by his orphanage supervisors who want to sell him to The Italians. Shock sets in upon imagining a society of child vagrants roaming Russian streets, not to mention women abandoning children as expendables. Given the tragic subject matter, it is tempting to assume that this is a chronic social problem in Russia, but hopefully The Italian merely fictionalizes an extreme example of this sad topic. Convincing performances by Spiridonov and Shuvalova add to the film's documentary feel. If nothing else, The Italian serves as biting social commentary that is culturally enlightening though heartbreaking. --Trinie Dalton
Great movie for kids who think. Based on a true story. Would love to follow up on it.Published 3 months ago by jack n.
Dark and somewhat depressing, but it ends well which is not totally unexpected. I assume it gives a realistic view of a Russian orphanage, but I hope not. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Cameron Krost
I loved the story presented in The Italian. This is one of the best films I have seen in my life. It deals with the prickly adventures of a Russian boy who is up for adoption to... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Glen Salazar
I had seen this movie at a movie theater some years ago showcasing highly rated foreign films and was very moved by it. Read morePublished 19 months ago by James T. Ellwood
Fantastic acting, especially the young boy who plays Vanya. This movie really pulls at your heartstrings. Read morePublished on April 22, 2013 by Betty Reyes
What a wonderful story this was. I am glad that I picked this movie, my family and I had a wonderful time watching this movie. I highly recommend it.Published on February 19, 2013 by Dante P Galan
A moving film about the hardships of the Russian Orphan system. Moving beyond words this gem of a film will make you laugh and cry. A wonderful moviePublished on December 28, 2012 by Tamusc
I love this movie. I first saw it on TV, and toward the end, his Mother is shown more as the nurse in the hospital, so one realizes the irony of her working on the injured person. Read morePublished on October 5, 2012 by labizz
In this 2005 Russian film, six-year-old Vanya is housed in a crowded orphanage with other "foundlings." Their only hope appears to be adoption by a foreign family. Read morePublished on September 26, 2012 by Joyce