This film shows things I have only heard about. I am a 'rich westerner' who,by accident of birth, was lucky enough to avoid such things. This film shows the hypocrisy of good intentions and how they can be warped in the hands of truly evil people. Yes, they DO exist and Sincai (Pete Poslethwaite?) is merely a remarkable example, selling the medical supplies the hospital receives and dealing in weapons.
The grinding down of the human soul in poverty, apathy and violence can be seen in nearly each frame. How can the children at this hospital survive? The truth is many don't. They had one hope-to be marketed by Sincai to rich, western couples looking for kids to adopt and many kids have been sold away from their sisters and their brothers into the arms of these misguided people. Into their lives drops the English-speaking Brute (Schweiger)who is the promise of 'rich western' salvation in the flesh. The difference is that he LIVES with them and very obviously cares about them, if in a rough way. He is helped by two longer term inmates at this insane place- the alcoholic violinist doctor Babits (Hurt,always worth every penny,such a lovingly hard-working actor) and the beautiful and dedicated nurse Mara (played by Ida Jablonska.)
The basic plot here (I won't give more as I WANT you to see this film and can't spoil it) is that Brute feigns love for a young Gypsy girl who has a heart valve condition that will likely kill her. In order to save her, he and Babits and Mara have to please Sincai in every way in order to get the right medical supplies and medicines to do the operation that will save her life. In order to raise money for this operation, however, he will sell her younger 'brother' Jorgu. He is ALL she really has.
Please see this film. I especially think you should see it if you are in the least interested in adopting and 'saving' an eastern European orphan. Think, think and think again.