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Italian, The

English title: Italian, The
Original title: Italianets
German title: Italiener, Der
Russia, 2004

Director: Kravchuk, Andrei
Production company: Lenfilm
Age recommendation: 11 years and up

Synopsis:
It’s a pretty tall order to ask a six-year-old to suddenly take on responsibility for his own life. Every decision he makes will have an influence on his future, and the questions facing Vanya are really tough: does he want to life a comfortable life as an adopted child of a loving family in Italy? After all, for an abandoned Russian child like Vanya it really doesn’t sound like a bad option. Or would he rather take on the powers-that-be in Russian society?
The latter path would involve a battle against Russia’s feeble adoption laws in a godforsaken part of the country where, for children without parents, adoption offers the only chance for survival. Moreover, there’s plenty of money to be had in selling orphans into adoption abroad. For Vanya to succeed, he would have to get his own way in a cruel world where adults are not about to let a perverse six-year-old prevent them from earning a quick buck. He would also have to defend himself against the avarice of corrupt militias. But, above all, his refusal to allow himself to be adopted by an Italian family would be a decision against his mother’s wishes, who abandoned him in a Russian maternity ward.
The world of children is a universe with its own laws; a realm in which sometimes one’s heart speaks louder than one’s intellect. Vanya decides to set off in search of his mother. But he must first learn how to read so that he can understand the little information he has about her. Vanya embarks on his quest – and encounters a mysterious and dangerous world.

Comments:
"The film shows us how important it is to have someone who offers you love and security. On the voyage of young Vanja, we encounter many problems that affect us all, make us sad, and especially cause us to think. Little Kolya was especially convincing, we really cared about his fate." Children's Jury, Kinderfilmfest Berlin 2005.

"The winning film caught our attention with it's authenticity and upprightness while taking us in the universe of the film, so that we could feel empathy with the main character.” (Children's Jury at Buster Children's Film Festival Copenhagen 2005)

"The jury determined THE ITALIAN as the best feature of the festival for its originality of subject matter, treatment of relationships, masterful direction of children and adults and overall skill in delivering an indelible memory." (International Jury at the Olympia Film Festival Pyrgos/Greece 2005)

"A film, which has moved us all. It takes up important issues, with superb acting by the young cast. The film is in its realistic style great film art, in the best Russian film tradition." (Jury at the Kristiansand Children's Film Festival 2006)

"The Italian" was submitted by Russia as a 2006 Oscar candidate for best foreign-language film. To date, the movie has garnered 30 international festival awards.

Festivals:
Berlin 2005 (awarded), Poznan 2005 (awarded), Munich 2005 (awarded), Buster Copenhagen 2005 (awarded), Cinekid Amsterdam 2005 (awarded), Tel Aviv 2005, FICI Madrid 2005, Vienna 2005 (awarded), Oulu 2005, Olympia Pyrgos 2005 (awarded), Stuttgart 2005, CineJunior 94, France (awarded), Würzburg 2006, Antwerp/Brugge 2006 (awarded), Hannover 2006, Stockholm Junior 2006, Kristiansand 2006 (awarded), Zlin 2006, Toronto IFF 2006, Vilnius 2006, Augsburg 2007, Cyprus 2007

Website: http://www.lenfilm.ru

Study guide: Flemish

World sales address/es:
Lenfilm (RUS)
Attraction Distribution (CDN)

Sold to:
Jef (BE)
Twin Film (NL)
Absolut (D)
Bundesverband Jugend und Film (D)
Fidalgo (N)
Acaciasfilms (F)