The Lives of the Saints (2006) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Mr Karva runs a shady little empire in North London. We don't know exactly how he makes his money but we know it's probably not very nice. Mr Karva's stepson, Othello, has ambitions to take the old man's place; and Othello's fainthearted friend, Emilio, has ambitions of his own. This delicate balance of power is upset when Roadrunner finds a strange, sickly-looking 10 year old boy in the park. All his life, Roadrunner has been on the move - but when he looks into the child's eyes, he finds he can finally stop running. It becomes clear that the child can grant each character their own taste of heaven - the 'perfect, rosy future of your dreams'. The child never talks but transforms the world around him, working on the desire in each character's heart, whatever it may be. Othello wins every bet he makes; Christella finds a new son to replace the baby she lost; Mr. Karva achieves his elusive orgasm and Father Daniel is finally able to express his own secret passions. But nothing ever comes for free...


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The Lives of the Saints is a dark and bizarre morality tale whereby fantastical events take place in the ordinary surroundings of modern-day London.

    The story unfolds in the cafes, clubs and shops of Green Lanes where Mr Karva is the boss; a ridiculous yet dangerous man who is known and feared by all. Othello, his stepson, is the young pretender, palling around with his girlfriend Tina and his weak-willed lackey Emilio. Life revolves around socialising, gambling and trying to scrape together a modest living.

    But that lifestyle is about to be thrown into disarray by an otherworldly, sickly-looking ten-year-old child. Mr Karvas errand boy, Roadrunner, stumbles across this child in the park and offloads his bizarre find in Othellos basement.

    Thus begins an exhilaratingly strange series of events. It seems that the child is able to grant others their innermost desires. Mute, intense, all he has to do is look into your eyes and everything you ever wanted will come true Soon Othellos dreams of limitless wealth become a reality. And true to form, his tyrannical stepfather wants to muscle in on the action.

    Mr Karva watches with mounting frustration as all around him get their own taste of heaven. It is paradise on the streets of north London, but family ties and relationships are becoming increasingly strained and as Mr Karva himself says, Every paradise has got its serpent. He persuades the unstable Emilio to take the matter into his own hands and a battle for possession of the child ensues.

    What unfolds is a disastrous descent into loss and despair as the tale plummets towards its tragic conclusion.

    The Lives of the Saints is a truly original modern-day fable, which warns that what we wish for is not always what we need

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