The Vertical Line, a heartfelt Italian comedy-drama about the patients and staff of a hospital oncology ward, now streaming on MHz Choice.

Now Streaming

The protagonist of this eight-episode limited series is Luigi (Valerio Mastandrea), a 40-something husband and father of one, with a second on the way. When Luigi discovers he has a tumor for which he must undergo a delicate surgical operation, he (and the viewer) enter the seemingly familiar world of a hospital, a setting we think we know everything about, but one which, explored in depth, holds extraordinary and tragicomic surprises…

The series marked the final TV production of acclaimed Italian writer/director Mattia Torre, who passed away after a long illness on July 19th, 2019 at the age of 47. Torre described the genesis of the show, based on his own book, in a 2018 interview: “The Vertical Line was born from an autobiographical hospital experience, but more than the need to tell a personal story, it was about the desire was to describe, in today’s Italy, the cancer department of a public hospital of absolute excellence, headed by a surgeon who overturns the cliché of the pompous, detached doctor – one who, on the contrary, represents kindness, generosity and love for his job. The oncology ward is our stage, because in addition to being the place where the protagonist is hospitalized, the ward is a small universe that thrives on interesting laws of its own. It is always the same and yet constantly changes… There is great (and, sometimes, involuntary) comedy, and there are friendships that then last forever. Life, death, suffering, illness: everything is systematized into a routine that you soon get used to, and that also represents a formidable human experience.”

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