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The Italian (2005)

September 26th, 2007 by Maxim · No Comments · 3,612 Views

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Sony Pictures Classics' The ItalianAn Italian family wants to adopt a child from a Russian orphanage, and six-year-old Vanya (Kolya Spiridonov) is their pick. Which is why kids at the orphanage immediately gave him name “Italianets” (The Italian). The couple is very nice, but Vanya is yearning for his birth mother. Determined to find her, he runs away from his orphanage to the house where he was left and lived until he was assigned to the orphanage.

Kolya Spiridonov in Sony Pictures Classics' The ItalianThis is an incredibly moving drama, and received many international awards. Not a tearjerker, but almost. Director Andrei Kravchuk has done an excellent job creating this very authentic, realistic drama. It was released in United States in 2007. All the orphan kids were acting like professional actors – so good I felt like I was among them and like I knew them all my life. A 5-start movie.

The orphanage is a realy poor condition. Kids have to work on the worst kind of job for peanuts to make ends meet. The director of the orphanage is not a bad man. He’s bitter that he didn’t become a pilot in his young years and that he has to go against his conscience to stay employed. The orphanage is actually run by “Madame”, who is quite aware that kids are forced to steal or into prostitution to survive; many can’t read and are dressed in rags, but under the circumstances everyone is trying to provide children with means to survive. Madame basically acts as an agent by finding “clients” for adoption and makes her living this way. All kids are envying those who get adopted or get picked up by their parents. Everyone of the children is dreaming that they will be in a family some day – from very small kids to teenagers. To add to the misery, Kravchuk uses a run-down house that was probably built before the Revolution, maybe in 19th century, as a set for the orphanage. The location is somewhere in Northern Russia, where the weather is most miserable when cold winter changes into cold and humid spring. Even though Vanya is 6 years old, so by Soviet standards he should have been able to read, still can’t. Kravchuk even turns simplest objects like candy, into something that children almost worship because they symbolize home, family and life they wish they had if they were living in a family and had real parents. And Vanya (Kolya Spiridonov) is so amazing.

There are no CGIs or budgets – it’s a masterpiece because of directing, story, acting and photography.

The ending was a bid hasty.

If you liked this movie, I recommend to see another Chech film called “Kolya” about a boy who was left by his mother to a friend in Czechoslovakia in the late 80s because she was trying to run away from Soviet Union with a guy from West Germany. On this movie I’ll guarantee you’ll cry. If you’ll be watching it on DVD, also watch all special features. Another great piece of acting by a Russian boy-actor.

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Tags: DVD · Drama · Foreign · Movies · Russia

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