Synopsis by Mark Deming
A gambler learns the hard way that you can con a con man in this period comedy adapted from a story by Nikolai Gogol. Luciano (Giuliano di Capua) is a smooth-talking Italian card shark who finds he's not welcome among the upper crust at home when he's unable to pay his gambling debts. Sneaking into Russia, Luciano is looking to make some fast money and thinks he's found a jackpot when he ends up in a card game with three men (Sergei Garmash, Sergei Makovetsky and Andrei Merzlikin) from a small village in the steppes. Luciano is smart enough to realize that his would-be victims know a thing or two about cards, and when they propose he join them for a confidence game in which the mark is a wealthy salesman, he's more than willing to sign on. However, while Luciano still imagines his new partners are half-bright rubes, the Russians are willingly living up to every negative stereotype about the peasant class in order to get the best of the unsuspecting gambler. Russkaya Igra (aka The Russian Game) received its American premiere at the 2007 New York Russian Film Week Festival.