LIVES OF THE SAINTS, THE

Adultery. The evil eye. A snakebite. They can shape the childhood of a boy like Vittorio Innocente (Fabrizio Filippo, Queer as Folk) who lives in Valle De Sole, a small Italian village dominated by religion and superstition. With his father Mario (Nick Mancuso, Under Siege) in Canada, preparing for his family’s eventual arrival, Vittorio’s youth is informed by two women: his strong-willed and fiery mother Christina (Sabrina Ferilli, Dalida) and his Aunt Teresa (Oscar and Emmy winner Sophia Loren, Ready to Wear), a schoolteacher and Vittorio’s moral compass. To guide Vittorio through life, Teresa has given him the book The Lives of the Saints. Its divine lessons are needed for scandal and whispers surround his beloved mother. Surviving the bite of a poisonous snake, Christina becomes a target of gossip and suspicion, further fuelled when she finds herself inexplicably pregnant—without shame or excuse. Her fate sealed with Heaven, Christina dies while delivering a baby girl, Rita—an innocent harbinger of strange and troubling things to come, both violent and beautiful.

In the newfound role as protector of his sister, Vittorio embarks with Rita to Canada. But to his father Mario, the girl is only a reminder of his wife’s infidelity and a dark shadow over the family name. As tensions between Mario and his children rend the fabric of the family even further, Rita willingly becomes part of an adoptive new home, separating brother and sister indefinitely. But years later, in the wake of their father’s suicide, Vittorio and Rita (Jessica Paré, Wicker Park), now an unnervingly sensuous young woman imbued with her mother’s smouldering free spirit, reunite. The death also inspires them to return to the isolated hilltop village of Valle De Sole, unchanged since the war, and to Aunt Teresa, the keeper of the family secrets. When revealed, they will change everyone’s perception of the past, of love and death, of guilt and innocence, and of the truth behind sins of the family that could bond or damn the Innocentes forever.

Filmed on location with an all-star cast, Lives of the Saints is now a powerful and dazzling new miniseries event directed by Jerry Ciccoritti (Colditz) and adapted by Malcolm Macrury (Man Without a Face) from the award-winning trilogy by Nino Ricci hailed by The New York Times as “a haunting, lyrical, intelligent coming-of-age novel and a genuine achievement.”

Drama
2 Episodes
120 Mins
2004
SD