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The Italian (Italianetz) - Yuri Itskov, Maria Kuznetsova, Kolya Spiridonov, Andrei Kravchuk

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

In Russia, every orphan longs for adoption. Vanya has other plans... to find his mother at all costs.

In his feature directorial début, director Andrei Kravchuk addresses with intelligence and poignancy the urgent issue of illegal adoption in Russia, which has become a well-documented international crisis. The Italian (Italianetz) is based on the true story of a small Russian boy abandoned in an orphanage who goes in search of his birth mother.

A childless, affluent couple from Italy comes to a provincial Russian children's home to find a child for adoption. The orphanage is a harsh place, run by two rival internal factions. Alongside the official, adult administration, run by a corrupt headmaster (played by Yuri Itskov) with the help of greedy adoption broker Madam (Maria Kuznetsova), there is a shadow children's gang operating out of the institution's boiler room.

When the Italian couple singles out 6-year-old ragamuffin Vanya Solntsev (Kolya Spiridonov) as their prospective choice, the other orphans give Vanya a new nickname: The Italian. They envy Vanya, imagining that he is destined for a life of ease in sunny Italy. But seeing that the older children must resort to stealing or prostitution in order to survive, plucky little Vanya has other plans. He decides to track down his birth mother, teaching himself to read in order to learn her address from his personal file locked in the home's office. After stealing his records, Vanya sneaks out of the orphanage and boards a commuter train headed for the city, with the orphanage staff and police in close pursuit. Fearing that Vanya will make them lose a very lucrative adoption deal, the orphanage headmaster joins forces with Madam to find the runaway child by any means necessary.

Theatrical propaganda posters

The Italian (Italianetz) theatrical one sheet image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film drama Russia true orphan adopt child Russian orphanage birth mother biography

Persons of interest

  • Kolya Spiridonov .... Vanya Solntsev
  • Denis Moiseenko .... Kolyan
  • Sasha Sirotkin .... Sery
  • Andrei Yelizarov .... Timokha
  • Vladimir Shipov .... Bloke
  • Polina Vorobieva .... Nataha
  • Olga Shuvalova .... Irka
  • Dima Zemlyanko .... Anton
  • Mariya Kuznetsova .... Madam
  • Nikolai Reutov .... Grisha
  • Yuri Itskov .... Headmaster
  • Dariya Lesnikova .... Mukhin's Mother
  • Rudolf Kuld .... Guard
  • Andrei Romanov .... Screenwriter
  • Andrei Kravchuk .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

While I was watching The Italian (Italianetz) up at the Chauvel Cinemas, all I could think of was the insipid Hollywood orphan exploitation flick, Like Mike. Fortunately, the only thing that they have in common is orphans who want to be adopted. The Russian film is hard-core depression in the way that only Russians can - the invented vodka, after all - hard, cold winters, decrepit old houses, crime and abuse, opportunism and isolation. That this story turns out to have a happy ending is life being unpredictable. Bastard.

Kolya Spiridonov is luminescent as the eponymous orphan. He is a natural kid, natural, delightful. He is relaxed on camera yet full of anguish, depression and determination. The fight to find his mother is a tearful overcoming of the odds, one which few performers could manage but Kolya makes it all look so easy. The other kids make a perfect supporting cast with faces that tell a million stories.

If you see only one Russian film this year, make it The Italian (Italianetz.

The drama, Russia, true movie The Italian (Italianetz) is directed by Andrei Kravchuk and stars Yuri Itskov, Maria Kuznetsova, Kolya Spiridonov.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Languages: Italian, Russian
  • Picture: Widescreen
  • Special features:
    • Trailers: Theatrical
  • Subtitles: English

Government security censorship classification

M (Moderate themes, infrequent moderate violence)

Surveillance time

99 minutes (1:39 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 25 April 2007
DVD rental: 9 April 2008
DVD retail: 20 August 2008

Cinema surveillance images

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