In The Italian, by director Andrei Kravchuk, six-year-old Vanya lives in the dilapidated Russian orphanage he has always called home. The orphanage is run by the Head Master, a broken-down man who, in spite of being occasionally drunk and frequently flustered, does the best he can to care for the many children abandoned by their parents to his care. A formidable woman known to the children only as Madam arranges for the children to be adopted by foreign couples seeking international adoption -- for a considerable profit. The children more or less fend for themselves, working at odd jobs, or as thieves and prostitutes for the gang of older teens living in the basement of the orphanage. One day Madam brings to the orphanage Claudia and Roberto, an Italian couple who have come to look for a child to adopt, and Vanya is chosen to be introduced to them. They immediately fall in love with Vanya and decide to adopt him, but it takes two months for the paperwork and court date to finalize matters. The other orphans consider Vanya lucky to have been chosen for adoption, and so does Vanya -- at first.