Produced using more than 500 hours of never-before-seen footage, this documentary was made to be etched into the hearts of billions of football fans. Directed by Asif Kapadia, the audience was immediately pulled into the storyline, with the focus being on the journey of one of the greatest football players of all time, Diego Armando Maradona—played by the man himself.
The film held a constant focus on the glory that famous footballers bask in, providing insight into when Maradona’s life started to take a dark turn.
Maradona arrived in Naples on 5 July 1984 for a world record fee and the perfect match was made: the world’s most celebrated professional footballer and the dangerous, most passionate city in Europe met one another. He was a genius on the field and was treated like a God off of it. With his rebellious spirit and his love for a fight, he led Napoli to their first ever title. He was living in his dreams, but there was a price to pay. As long as Maradona continued to perform his miracles on the pitch, he was allowed to do whatever he pleased.
Diego Maradona is a constant treat to his fans, drawing them in with intense training, victory celebrations and phenomenal goals.
Image courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
Using the 500 hours of unpublished material, director Asif Kapadia found great set pieces; one of which is his opening scene. He uses a Euro-disco soundtrack to match Maradona’s high speed drive through Naples on the day he signed for the club, heart pumping car chases and the anarchic press conference that almost led to a riot. Another highlight included scenes of fans crazily chanting Maradona’s name when the club’s chairman, Corrado Ferlaino (played by himself), ejected a reporter for dropping obvious hints to the fact that Napoli is connected to local mafias.
Kapadia was oddly fixated on Maradona’s womanising ways, with his—now ex—wife Claudia Villafane (played by herself), and his secret lover, Cristiana Sinagra (also played by herself). He also ignored Maradona’s friendships with Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, and tried to explain the football star’s unstable career as a reaction to his illegitimate son, Diego Jr., who was only acknowledged in 2016.
The link made by Kapadia creates a disconnection to Diego Maradona’s real life as it is portrayed to be more shallow in the film. His life was richer, deeper, stranger and darker than what was shared with viewers.
Diego Maradona is an amazing recollection of the life of a celebrated Argentine footballer, combining archival footage with a great soundtrack. However, the portrayal falls short through its omission of important milestones, focussing on the less impactful aspects of Maradona’s life. To those football fans out there, this is a worthwhile movie to watch; but to those who prefer less drama, turn your eyes away!
Diego Maradona is in cinemas tomorrow, July 25th!