The Hand Of God
Again keeping up with our content from World Cinema, I finished watching the new Italian Film The Hand Of God on Netflix. With the Academy Awards now just a stone’s throw away, this film marks the official entry of Italy to the Oscars. And some of the experts say this may well be a front runner as well. There is this charm intact of European Cinema. The stories that they wish to tell have a simple premise with a subtle message. The leisurely treatment adds a different dimension to it as opposed to films back home or from the West. That said, is The Hand Of God worth your time, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Set in 1980 in Naples, The Hand Of God is the coming of age story of a teenager following a heartbreak. The story which also is a semi autobiography of Director Sorrentino is a heartwarming one. There are references of the Football Legend Diego Maradona(hence the name The Hand Of God following a controversial event) which add up to the surroundings. It is almost as if the Director was reliving his childhood through the streets of Naples. The screenplay unfolds in the most leisurely manner. You are introduced to our protagonist and his family members(some of them part of his extended family) who are fat shaming, crazy, vulnerable but more importantly closely knit together. This is the part that adds to the relatability. But it also allows the audience to decide on how much they want to invest in the drama. It is shown that the main protagonist is a loner and a fan of Football and Maradona with an ambition to be a film director. Growing up through the teens, we are all attracted to older women and this is shown aesthetically in a scene where he is sexually attracted to his aunt after seeing her naked. This is one screenplay which you should just allow it to flow without trying to make too much sense too soon.
The main tragedy is presented in the most subtle way which leads to a sort of a transformation of the protagonist. I happened to watch the 8 minute documentary(on Netflix) which showcases the film through the eyes of the director. There when questioned about the ending he said that people leave the city to escape from sadness. That is what our generation does as well. The film ends on an open note almost in a slice of life fashion that unfolds a new chapter in the life of the protagonist. This is a screenplay that grows on you long after the film is over!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational and quite engaging I must say. Yes, this may be a deterrent for people who do not enjoy conversational films but it worked like a charm for me. The music transports you to the streets of Italy in the 1980s with Maradona freshly joining Napoli and the fans cheering. The BGM is as gentle as ever and compliments the mood of the drama beautifully. Director Paolo Sorrentino has delivered a masterpiece here. Its unhurried nature helps you feel each beat of the protagonist, his anxiety, his vulberability as you just want to put your hands on his shoulder and tell me, All Will Be Fine. A beautiful melancholy portrayed by a stunningly brilliant director!
The performances are quite brilliant. Massimiliano Gallo as Franco has his moments to shine. Teresa Saponangelo as Maria is fantastic in a bit of a complex role. Toni Servillo as Schisa is such a natural onscreen. Luisa Ranieri as Patrizia looks gorgeous and delivers a subtle performance filled with a lot of oomph. But it is Fillipo Scotti as Fabietto who delivers a gentle and vulnerable performance that stays with you long after the film has ended.
The Hand Of God is a subtle masterpiece that grows on you long after the film has ended. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended.