The Italian

Rated NR

Much like the Iranian films The White Balloon and The Children of Heaven, this story focuses on the emotional life and inherent dangers of being very young. Six-year-old Vanya lives in a dilapidated orphanage in dilapidated Russia. When an Italian couple visits and decides to adopt him, he becomes frightened and runs away, creating a harrowing adventure that captures the tension and terror of being a tiny person in a world he knows little about. It’s sort of like watching George W. Bush at a press conference, if he were 3 feet tall. Sadly, there’s a very slow middle third, but beyond that, the grimy, grainy cinematography and deeply felt acting make a strong case for this film. Plus, it’s Russian, and if the Russians can’t make a good movie, then we might as well all buy Disney T-shirts and sing American Idol songs while shaving our heads and checking into rehab.

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