The young protagonist of Anita may grapple with Down syndrome, but Argentine director Marcos Carnevale wisely avoids advocacy melodrama territory. Instead, Anita proves a capable, often disarming portrait of life's cruelties. Carnevale sets the film in the aftermath of a 1994 anti-Semitic terrorist bombing in Buenos Aires, an event which leaves Anita (Alejandra Manzo) motherless and cut off from her surviving siblings. Confused, cold, and hungry, she wanders the city, enlivening the dreary lives of a divorced photographer (Luis Luque), a battered alcoholic (a powerful Leonor Manso), and a family of Asian immigrants. Drawing on both heartbreak and humor, the film largely avoids turning Anita into a sentimental prop, allowing her displays of resourcefulness and wit as her innocence breaks down. Much of the credit is due to Ms. Manzo, whose performance is so authentically realized that it eclipses Carnevale's uneven art design and occasionally clunky camerawork.