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SERIES / REVIEWS Italy

Series review: Christian

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- In the new Sky Original series, Edoardo Pesce plays a suburban slugger who gets stigmata on his hands and starts performing miracles

Series review: Christian
Edoardo Pesce in Christian

A series in which everything happens, that will keep the viewer glued to the screen, with changes of direction and surprises until the last minute. This is what the creators of Christian promise, the new Sky Original series directed by Stefano Lodovichi (Aquadro [+see also:
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, In fondo al bosco [+see also:
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, The Guest Room [+see also:
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- here also creative producer) and Roberto "Saku" Cinardi (who is also the creator), on which there is an absolute ban on spoilers. But of the six episodes of this supernatural crime series, produced by Sky and Lucky Red, we can certainly anticipate something, at least of the first two episodes shown to the press. First thing: a new superhero "all'amatriciana" has landed in Rome, after Enzo Ceccotti in They Call Me [+see also:
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Jeeg [+see also:
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; and this time he has something in common with Jesus Christ.

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We are in Corviale, the city-palace that the Romans call "Serpentone," a public building almost a kilometre long on the south-western outskirts of the capital, all concrete and decay. Christian (Edoardo Pesce, David di Donatello for his role in Dogman [+see also:
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) is a bearded big man who earns his living by beating up people (he's a thug for the neighbourhood boss, the ruthless Lino, played by Giordano De Plano), but he's basically a good, simple man, who looks after his mother Italia, who suffers from Alzheimer's (Lina Sastri), and who would like to do something better than breaking the arms of debtors. "You are number one at using your hands, why should you do anything else?" the boss tells him, unyielding to his demands. One day, however, in these very hands Christian begins to feel excruciating pains that gradually prevent him from completing his dirty work - and holding a man dangling upside down from the third floor balcony by the legs becomes increasingly difficult for him.

Christian tries to remedy his shortcomings as best he can (even with the help of the clandestine doctor Tomei, played by Francesco Colella), until two bloody holes appear on his palms: two real stigmata. And when, simply by touching her hand, he brings his overdosed neighbour Rachele (Silvia D'Amico) back to life, people start talking about a miracle. Matteo (Claudio Santamaria), an emissary of the Vatican in charge of certifying miracles, a man with conspicuous scars on his face, himself pardoned when he was a child and in search of answers about his past, sets out on his trail. In the meantime, Christian will begin to use his gift to bring some hope to the hell he lives in, and to understand something more about himself; at his side, Rachele will take advantage of her second chance to seek a better life.

The plot of Christian, freely inspired by the graphic novel Stigmate by Claudio Piersanti and Lorenzo Mattotti (The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily [+see also:
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), unfolds in a context between the sacred and the pulp. The crude reality of an extreme suburb, where violence and dishonesty prevail, is gradually enriched with fantastic elements and mystery, without neglecting a pinch of lightness and irony, as in the moments when Christian and the other men of the gang (including Davide, played by Antonio Bannò, and Penna, by Gabriel Montesi), a bit "Tarantino-style", discuss the most disparate topics around a table, from women's football to Michael Jackson's moonwalk. This is a promising pop-dramedy that is cleverly packaged, with its well-characterised set (the Serpentone in Corviale is a bit like the Vele in Scampia in Gomorra), its mix of crime and faith/superstition, where nothing is as it seems and everything is still to be discovered.

Christian is available from 28 January on Sky Atlantic, on demand on Sky and streaming on NOW.

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(Translated from Italian)

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