Sorrentino: “My first contact with art was provided by Maradona”

  • The Italian filmmaker evokes a tragic episode from his teenage life in his latest film, ‘Fue la mano de Dios’, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the last Venice Film Festival and Italian Oscar candidate.

When you turn 50, Paolo Sorrentino He felt that he was ready to face the greatest tragedy of his life. It had happened in April 1987. Then a 17-year-old boy, he planned to spend the weekend with his parents in the family country house, but instead they gave him permission to go to football to see his beloved team, the Naples. And while the boy vibrated contemplating in the field his idolized Diego Armando Maradona, his parents died of carbon monoxide fumes from a defective heater. “I always thought that I couldn’t make this film until the pain caused by that trauma had subsided & rdquor ;, explains Sorrentino about the feature film that premieres this Friday in Spain, ‘It was the hand of God’. “But the truth is that it has not. I’m still traumatized, and I thought that turning that experience into a fiction might help me overcome a grief that has been with me for 35 years & rdquor ;.

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the last Venice Film Festival and Italian Oscar candidate, ‘It was the hand of God’ In any case, it does not focus exclusively on that sinister event. Instead, he travels to the Naples of 1984 to contemplate the loss of innocence of a boy, Fabietto (Filippo Scotti), who is nothing but the fictional version of Sorrentino himself; We see him dealing with typically adolescent anguish, carrying an annoying virginity, trying to pass unnoticed among the members of his extended and eccentric family, forgetting his frustrations through his passion for soccer. And then death intervenes, and with it a vocation emerges. “There is a clear connection between the death of my parents and my decision to become a filmmaker & rdquor;recalls the director. “Because the only thing I could think of to bear what happened was to create parallel realities that would allow me to evade reality & rdquor ;.

Creative detour

And, despite being so closely linked to his life and artistic identity, ‘Fue la mano de Dios’ can be considered a detour in the director’s creative trajectory. Those who know titles like ‘Il Divo’ (2008) and ‘The great beauty’ -who gave him his first Oscar- you will know that Sorrentino has specialized in creating visually opulent fictions that are sophisticated and vulgar, frivolous and deep and sensual and ironic; though also intensely stylized, the new film is long the simplest at formal and conceptual levels of his career. “I opted for a somewhat more austere aesthetic, because it seemed to me that it suited the needs of the story & rdquor ;, assures the Italian. “When you spend too much time perfecting your own style, you run the risk of becoming a little superficial & rdquor;

And also the levels of intimacy and emotionality that ‘Fue la mano de Dios’ exhibits make it an exceptional work in the career of its author. “Probably I will not use the cinema again to enter such personal territories & rdquor ;, acknowledges Sorrentino; by his own admission, he spent much of the script writing process in tears. “In any case, it is the most important movie I’ve never done & rdquor ;.

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If Sorrentino regrets something about ‘It was the hand of God’, yes, it is that Maradona himself died before he could see it. After all, The Argentine star not only saved his life without knowing it, also helped him find his voice as a filmmaker. “When I was a child my family never took me to the movies or to a museum, so my first contact with art was provided by Maradona, who was a visual artist. That explains why one of the reasons why I made the film was to make clear the importance that he had both in my life and in that of so many Neapolitans & rdquor ;. And in the process, we say, ‘It was the hand of God’ It also functions as an evocation of the most unique of Italian cities, a tribute to a father and a mother, a remembrance of a lost way of life and a celebration of cinema as a protective shield and escape route.

‘It was the hand of God’

Address Paolo Sorrentino

Interpreters Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Luisa Ranieri, Teresa Saponangelo, Marlon Joubert

Premiere December 3, 2021

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