Marooned in the Dickensian squalor of a Russian orphanage, 6-year-old Vanya (Kolya Spiridonov) gets hope for a new life when an Italian couple contracts to adopt him. Vanya, however, has other plans, scheming his way free to find the mother who abandoned him. Andrei Kravchuk’s drama seems frontloaded with clich-a e]s (the plucky foundling, the hooker with a heart of you-know-what), but The Italian avoids total pathos with brisk storytelling and moving performances, especially from the self-possessed Spiridonov. EXTRAS None. B
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