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A movie directed by Andrey Kravchuk

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Once in a Lifetime

  • May 23, 2007
In the heart of every orphan's life there is the shroud of mystery concerning one's biological parents. So strong is this desire that six-year-old Russian, Vanya (Kolya Spiradonov) is reluctant to be adopted by potential Italian foster parents visiting his orphanage. With envy coming from every child and great pressure from the Madam and other directors, his inquest seems daunting at best from the start. Still, one night at a bus stop, he meets into a woman who grieves over giving up her son, forced by poverty and financial pressures society place upon her. Once he can see her vodka induced tears, he wonders if he, too, has a real mother crying for him somewhere. With an approximate 5,000 Euros on his head for the institution, he stubbornly hits the trail for a quest for his true identity.

`The Italian,' a Russian import, works so well because the boy's actions seem so real. His naïve bewilderment goes along with the simple ways in which he follows his investigation. Besides naturally unfolding the frigid climate and the rough existence before our eyes--even of post-Communist Russia--the story targets our heartstrings with a lovable, young protagonist who truly has had enough hard knocks to already have street smarts in his small, mean life. The acting is so laudably casual that we really feel like we're watching live scenes rather than a drama. 'The Italian' has the effect of melting the core Russian existence, whose human struggle is presented as not much different than their winter weather. It's also good at melting our own hearts as well.

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More The Italian (2005 movie) reviews
review by . August 14, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Best performance by a child actor I've seen since Billy Elliot      Cons: nothing      The Bottom Line: Even for someone who doesn't like subtitles but likes good stories, this is the ONE film you need to see.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. In June I reviewed a Danish film called "You Are Not Alone The Italian (a Russian film) shares some of the same emotional impact, …
review by . May 24, 2007
'Italianetz' (THE ITALIAN) is a strong Russian film from the pen of Andrei Romanov under the direction of young artist Andrei Kravchuk - the kind of film that enlightens us about problems in Russia but also provides one of the more tender stories about a child's resilience on film.    Apparently in modern Russia there are orphanages for abandoned children which serve as repositories for adoption by needy parents throughout the world, adoptions brokered by savvy Russian sponsors …
About the reviewer
John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #99
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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About this movie


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. <br> <br> 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 mothe...
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Director: Andrey Kravchuk
Genre: Foreign
Release Date: 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Andrei Romanov
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2007
Runtime: 1hr 39min
Studio: Sony Pictures
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"Once in a Lifetime"
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