This month of December is full of author films on Netflix. Available today, The Hand of God is Paolo Sorrentino’s most personal film. The director tells a key moment of his adolescence through his fictional alter ego.
What is it about ?
Naples in the 80s. Fabietto Schisa, a teenager who feels bad about himself, lives with his eccentric and colorful family. But his daily life is suddenly turned upside down when Diego Maradona, planetary football legend, arrives in Naples and miraculously saves him from a terrible accident. This unexpected meeting with the star of the round ball will be decisive for the future of the young man. With The Hand of God, Sorrentino returns to his hometown to make his most personal film, which mixes fate and family, sport and cinema, love and lost illusions.
The Hand of God, a film written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino with Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo…
Who is it with?
If Paolo Sorrentino finds one of his favorite actors, Toni Servillo with whom he has already shot six feature films, The Hand of God serves as a spotlight for a young talent, very promising: Filippo Scotti. The young man plays Fabietto, Sorrentino’s fictional alter ego, in this film that brings back the nostalgia of the 80s.
Fabietto is a teenager like the others, a little bad about himself and in search of meaning. He evolves within THE quintessential Sorrento family. Bourgeois parents, but a little bohemian spirit. Bon vivant who love life and their children.
Well worth a look ?
When presenting his film at the Venice Film Festival this year, Paolo Sorrentino revealed that The Hand of God is his most personal and intimate film. We understand it from the start, not only because he lifts the veil on his family life, but because he gives the keys to his cinema.
Fabietto is under construction. He is already driven by a passion for cinema, without necessarily knowing to what extent the seventh art will invade his life. He is also animated by the passion for football and Diego Maradona, this demigod who comes to play in his city, at his home. And then there is the Italian passion. This way of living each moment with crazy intensity, both comic and dramatic.
The commedia dell’arte is everywhere, in every moment. At family lunches, seated at fifteen or twenty, each one howling and laughing louder than the other. In the moments of jubilation when Maradona scores a goal for Napoli. In tragic moments too, when rage and despair devastate young Fabietto.
We find of course the inimitable style of Sorrentino, with this excessive aestheticization of scenes which one can hardly imagine that they come from reality. Where this style may have annoyed some in films previous ones, here he is at the total service of the story. All dreamlike sequences ring true. There is (almost) no flirtatiousness and the plastic beauty of the images is simply astounding.
Finally, we understand Sorrentino’s relationship to the feminine. Everything comes from her aunt, Patrizia (Luisa Ranieri) in the film, a woman of incandescent beauty, of an overflowing sensuality, but also deeply unhappy in the household, in childishness, and feeling to exist only by the provocation. .
Finally, there is all the emotion that Paolo Sorrentino has (too) long contained and that he distils in little drops the better to surprise and overwhelm us. Fabietto is going through an event that will change his life forever. If this one is known in Sorrentino’s biography, it remains to be discovered in the film without revealing its content.
It all makes sense. Modesty of feelings, a sense of beauty, the visceral need for provocation are elements which have always figured in Sorrentino’s works, but which united here form a coherent whole. Sorrentino admirers and detractors, this film is for you.