Com­pelling snap­shot of a celebrity foot­balling le­gend

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -


LON­DON-BORN film­maker Asif Ka­pa­dia col­lected nu­mer­ous awards in­clud­ing two Baf­tas for his turbo-charged doc­u­men­tary Senna, which con­structed a multi-faceted por­trait of sport­ing ge­nius from hours of race footage, pho­to­graphs, in­ter­views and archive ma­te­rial.

Three years later, he col­lected an­other Bafta and an Acad­emy Award for his deeply mov­ing and provoca­tive ac­count of the rise and fall of Amy Wine­house, which can­didly ad­dressed the singer’s bruis­ing bat­tle with drug and al­co­hol ad­dic­tion.

In his im­pec­ca­bly con­structed new doc­u­men­tary, Ka­pa­dia fo­cuses on a deeply di­vi­sive fig­ure, who emerged from the rub­ble of his spec­tac­u­lar self-de­struc­tion and has con­tin­ued to make head­lines off the foot­ball pitch.

Diego Maradona be­gins on July 5, 1984, with grainy footage of cars slalom­ing at speed through the wind­ing streets of Naples bound for the Sta­dio San Paolo.

Twenty-three year-old Diego Ar­mando Maradona is about to be un­veiled to more than 75,000 fren­zied fans of ail­ing Serie A side SSC Napoli.

Club pres­i­dent Cor­rado Fer­laino has paid a record-break­ing £6.9 mil­lion to Barcelona, hop­ing that the Ar­gen­tinian striker can loosen the stran­gle­hold of clubs in north­ern Italy over the league.

Maradona’s su­per­star sta­tus doesn’t ex­tend to lav­ish perks.

‘I asked for a Fer­rari and got a Fiat,’ jokes the foot­baller in a voiceover.

Archive footage and home videos chart those early years with the club, lead­ing to the 1986 World Cup when Maradona’s left hand con­tro­ver­sially helped se­cure vic­tory over England in the quar­ter-fi­nals en route to lift­ing the tro­phy as cap­tain of Ar­gentina.

The in­fringe­ment, un­seen by the match ref­eree, is deemed here as ‘some sort of sym­bolic re­venge against England’ for the Falk­lands war.

The fol­low­ing sea­son in Italy, Napoli wins the Coppa Italia and the cov­eted Serie A ti­tle.

This his­toric double sparks two months of cel­e­bra­tions in the city and in amus­ing images from the era, we see a ban­ner draped across one ceme­tery which reads: ‘You don’t know what you missed.’.

At the same time, Maradona be­gins to frater­nise with the or­gan­ised crim­i­nal un­der­world and takes his first snort of co­caine. ‘One hit, I felt like Su­per­man,’ gid­dily con­fesses the player.

Ka­pa­dia’s film spares few blushes as it chron­i­cles the sour­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween Maradona and fans till he gains a rep­u­ta­tion as the most hated per­son in Italy.

Diego Maradona lacks the emo­tional gut punch of Senna and Amy, but is none­the­less a com­pelling snap­shot of a self-made celebrity, who pre­cip­i­tated his own demise.

The in­trigu­ing dilemma of Maradona’s di­vided loy­alty, ex­em­pli­fied by his captaincy of Ar­gentina against Italy at the 1990 World Cup, isn’t fully ad­dressed on screen and re­mains a tan­ta­lis­ing loose thread.

On this one occasion, Ka­pa­dia’s film fails to em­u­late its charis­matic sub­ject and score in front of open goal.

RAT­ING: 7.5/10

Diego Maradona takes to the field for his club Napoli.

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