The Miracle

In Italy the referendum that could bring the country out of Europe is round the corner. In eight days, four figures find themselves dealing with the biggest event of their existence; one capable of changing the world and that will change their lives forever.

The young Prime Minister Fabrizio Pietromarchi, an upright politician, progressive, atheist, is facing the most delicate moment of his political career, while his wife, the explosive and indomitable Sole, is threatening to leave him. Father Marcello, an outer city priest, after years of devout faith and missions in Africa, has become prey to irrepressible drives: gambling, sex and pornography destroy his soul. He is looking for a sign from God to defeat the devil. General Votta, a solitary man, a guardian of security, an enemy of anything that may disturb the established order, is suffering from a troublesome form of sinusitis. Sandra is a haematologist who for years has been treating a mother who has reached a vegetative state, sacrificing every other aspect of her life for her, even her love for Amanda. She would do anything to restore her to life. These are the first four people to come into contact with the incredible relic found in the hideout of the mob boss Molocco: a statuette of the Madonna that ceaselessly weeps blood. They’re the ones who take on all responsibility for the find. An abandoned army swimming pool is the place chosen to shelter this apparently inexplicable mystery; one capable of destabilizing a country already hanging on a delicate balance. The intellect, reasoning, the national interest, faith or science are the paths taken to find an answer to the incomprehensible phenomenon. But the search for answers only multiplies the questions to pose. Anyone who attempts to understand, handle or contrast the Madonna ends up in a chasm of events that will change their lives irreversibly, keeping intact the unfathomable power of the miracle.

A series created by Niccolò Ammaniti. Screenwriters: Niccolò Ammaniti, Francesca Marciano, Francesca Manieri e Stefano Bises. Directors: Niccolò Ammaniti, Francesco Munzi e Lucio Pellegrini.

Episodes: 8; running time: 50 min. (2018)

Director's Notes

When I write a story, I’m under one only obligation, and that is to stimulate my readers to connect my dots to their imagination. If, for instance, I tell about a house I might give its general outline, the main details that set it apart from others, the obscurity reigning under its stairway by day, the smell of its wet plasterwork, the musk under its terracotta roof, the sound of steps on the loose tiles, or the flaking paint on its blinds. When describing a face, I might linger on those restless eyes, or on a little gap between the front teeth when a smile is flashed. I leave all the rest up to the memory and phantasy of the reader. In this exchange lies the magic of literature; there, and in the darkness which the writer gifts to the reader, to shed light on as he pleases. Cinema does not work like that. The viewer, sat in his armchair, must be provided with the whole package. The lights, the places and the objects that inhabit them, the faces filled up by actors, the clothing, the characters and the way they move — even a bit of music to underscore a parting kiss. Action cannot be implied in the description of a look, a single frame will not do; it needs to be deconstructed, and subdivides in many camera angles, viewpoints, movements, pieces to edit together and re-construct into a scene. This has been the very first lesson I’ve had to learn in my approach to making of The Miracle. I am a lucky man. I’ve enjoyed some substantial help from two good companions, directors Francesco Munzi and Lucio Pellegrini. Together we have tried, in creating this series, to keep an objective vision, not unlike the stealthy gaze of an invisible witness who might have chanced upon the action, not too far from the middle of it, and tryed to take it all in as best he can – be it a statuette of the Holy Virgin crying tears of blood, or two children playing perverted games. We have simply followed the – often somewhat frantic – unfolding of events, one step behind, a little slower than the characters who bring it all about.

Niccolò Ammaniti