Time Out says
This finely crafted Russian debut comes across like ‘The Bourne Identity’ as directed by one of the Italian neo-realists, taking as its heart the complex concerns of Vanya (Kolya Spiridonov), a quietly indefatigable six-year-old orphan – dubbed ‘The Italian’ due to his potential adoption by an Italian couple – who decides that he must find his birth mother when he hears of a tragedy involving a fellow orphan.
Marking its ground as a detailed and honest study of the day-to-day anxieties of orphanhood, the film develops nicely into a gripping rites-of-passage drama which is amply carried by an extraordinarily vulnerable performance from its young lead. With some pantomime-baddie turns from the various overseers helping to compound a strong sense of injustice to young Vanya’s predicament, Andrei Kravchuk’s film is sensitive to the hilt and pleasingly attuned to the guileless outlook of its hero.
Cast and crew