SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL – THE HAND OF GOD

Rating: MA15+
Length: 135 mins
Cast: Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo

Paolo Sorrentino’s deeply personal film is an exquisite reflection on family, sport, love, desire, tragedy and cinema against the backdrop of 1980s Naples. Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Venice.

17-year-old Fabietto (Filippo Scotti, Best Young Actor prize, Venice) grows up in a loving and complicated family. His father Saverio (Sorrentino regular Toni Servillo) is a banker but claims to be a communist. His mother Maria (Teresa Saponangelo) plays elaborate, brilliantly conceived pranks on neighbours and family members alike, and his handsome brother Marchino (Marlon Joubert) wishes to be an actor. A careful observer of everything and everyone around him, young Fabietto is particularly preoccupied by his attractive Aunt Patrizia (Luisa Ranieri) and the persistent rumours that Diego Maradona, the greatest footballer in the world, could join the Naples football team. A terrible accident throws Fabietto’s life into turmoil, but also sets him firmly on his creative path. Though more restrained than in his exuberant films like Oscar-winner The Great Beauty or Loro, Sorrentino still delivers images and moments of breathtaking beauty and emotion. He describes his intention to “let the life of those years speak, in the way I remember them – in the way I experienced them, felt them… And hovering above everything, so close and yet so far, is Maradona, that ghostly idol, five foot five, who seemed to sustain the lives of everyone in Naples, or at least mine.”

Paolo Sorrentino, born in 1970 in Naples, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film for The Great Beauty in 2014. An international success, the film also won BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. He made his debut with One Man Up in 2001, and his other acclaimed feature films include The Consequences of Love (2004), Il Divo (2008), This Must Be the Place (2011), Youth (2015), and Loro (2018).