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Suddenly you feel bad for the guy.
There is no need of talking heads as the brilliance, the excesses, the great glory and the deep lows of this very flawed living legend just talk for itself. Great musics too.
Por fin un muy buen documental que habla sobre Diego y sobre Maradona. Basado solo en imágenes de época, este grandioso documental muestra la vida del astro desde sus orígenes en el tugurio de Villa Fiorito hasta su paso por el Barcelona FC y su endiosamiento en el Nápoles y en la selección argentina del 86. Muestra sus pros y contras de forma equilibrada dando un resultado increíble al dejar que la historia se narre por si sola.
Sports are not really my preferred type of entertainment; movies and music are more my kinds of thing. As such, I had never heard of Diego Maradona before. To that regard, I would not be able to talk about the accuracy of the documentary. I can only talk about how well the piece worked, to someone with no prior knowledge of the person being portrayed.
This is yet another case where the trailer does not create a tone that is consistent with the tone of the documentary as a whole. From watching the trailer alone, I was intrigued at the story of a man that works his way up from the slums to become a football god, who then gets caught up in the wrong crowd and becomes a gangster. That sounds like an incredibly thrilling story. While Maradona is an interesting documentary, the second half is definitely not what the trailer would lead you to believe. In fact, the whole pacing that the trailer displays is inconsistent with that of the full feature.
Let's ignore the trailer and just look at the documentary itself. One of the important aspects of a documentary is the narrative direction. A person's life has many facets and events, and it is important to decide on what category of aspects to focus on when doing a documentary. Maradona focuses on the duality of Diego Maradona's character during his time playing for the Italian football team, Naples (Napoli), between 1984 and 1992.
While football is a major part of the documentary, it's clear that while it drives the narrative forward, it isn't what director Asif Kapadia is interested in. Instead, the film looks at how the sport changed who Diego Maradona was as a person, to the point that many people close to him would refer to him by his two vastly different personalities. 'Diego' was the loving family-man, timid and humble, whereas 'Maradona' was the mask he wore in public; the confident, narcissistic, showboating personality. Maradona is the story of a man who loved to play soccer and wanted nothing more than to win games and to live a peaceful life with his family. Unfortunately, his life in Naples was intertwined with the success of the Napoli soccer team, which left him at the mercy of public perception.
A mix of archive footage and audio from later interviews, Kapadia creates a cohesive narrative that--thanks to the balance of audio--creates an incredibly immersive experience. Something that needs to be viewed on the big screen, you can feel every time the boot connects with the ball, you can feel the feverish fanatical atmosphere that the Neapolitan public created, and you can feel the claustrophobia and emotional isolation that plagued Diego Maradona. Creating a well-structured and engaging narrative is important and is well-executed here.
A brilliant example of the brutality of public perception, Diego Maradona's fall from grace is incredibly tragic. One could try to say his own behaviour led to the outcome that he got, but he was a man trapped in his circumstance, whose life completely changed after one fateful football match.
A fitting tribute to perhaps the greatest of all time - in all his genius, sagacity, hedonism, and excess
In his third feature-length documentary, director Asif Kapadia turns for the first time to a still-living subject; arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Diego Maradona. As famous for his on-field brilliance as his lavish lifestyle and volatility off the pitch, Maradona lived (and continues to live) his controversial life very much in the public eye. Depicted as uniquely and supremely talented, but unable to handle the fame, he became a victim of his own success, with his career imploding in the prime of his life. Although the film ends on an unnecessary downer, and although the focus on the period from 1984 to 1992 will disappoint those looking for a more conventional overview, the fact is that it's in those few years where the legend was born, where it reached its apotheosis, and where it self-destructed.
The film looks at such events as his arrival at Napoli in 1984, when he was welcomed at the Stadio San Paolo by 85,000 fans; the 1986 World Cup, in which he scored the greatest goal of all time, leading a very average Argentinian squad to victory; the birth of his illegitimate son, Diego Sinagra; Napoli's first league title (1986-1987); his association with the Giuliano crime family and cocaine addiction; Napoli's second title (1988-1989) and first UEFA cup; the 1990 World Cup, in which he found himself lining out for Argentina against Italy at the San Paolo - a situation that wasn't helped when he said in an interview that Naples wasn't really Italy, and he expected the Napoli fans to cheer for Argentina; his vilification in the press after scoring a key penalty; the Napoli fans turning on him; his 15-month suspension for testing positive for cocaine; his low-key departure from Napoli in 1992.
Unlike both Senna (2010) and Amy (2015), Diego Maradona includes both first name and surname in its title, and whilst this might seem like a superficial element, it's actually of huge thematic importance. The film's central conceit is that Diego Maradona was two personas; the quiet, unassuming street kid who just wanted to help his family and have fun (Diego), and the global superstar, with a different Rolex for every day of the week (Maradona). The film posits that Maradona was a construct built by Diego, but over time, Maradona began to take over from Diego, even away from the cameras, and as Diego receded further into the shadows, Maradona became increasingly unpleasant and self-absorbed.
Kapadia doesn't focus on any one incident as breaking Maradona, but he does trace it back to the 1986 birth of Diego Sinagra. Looking at the media frenzy that resulted, Kapadia draws attention to the fact that his wife, Claudia Villafañel, was pregnant with a child of her own during the scandal. Kapadia also focuses on the 1990 Argentina-Italy game, and whilst he is unequivocal that the Napoli fans overreacted, he is also clear that Maradona's calamitous pre-game interview didn't help. In this sense, although Kapadia flirts with the image of Maradona as a man betrayed by an intrusive press and a fickle public, ultimately it presents him as neither hero nor villain, but as someone caught up in a hurricane partly of his own making.
In terms of problems, perhaps the most obvious one is how narrowly focused the film is, with a good 90% set during his tenure at Napoli. For example, the film barely touches on the infamous brawl that Maradona instigated (albeit after he was incessantly provoked) in the 1984 Copa del Rey final contested by Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao. Some footage is shown, but there's no context. There's also only the briefest of mentions of the 1994 World Cup, when he failed another drug test and was sent home in disgrace, never to play for Argentina again. Likewise, there's nothing whatsoever on his coaching career. The film also ends on an unnecessarily downbeat note, with Maradona overweight and disillusioned, tearfully confessing his many transgressions on Argentinian TV. Such an ending was entirely avoidable given that the man is still alive and seems to be holding his demons at bay.
This aside, however, Diego Maradona is an exceptional documentary. Mapping out the difference between the person and the cult of personality, Kapadia avoids hagiography, painting Maradona as far from perfect, but so too is it a fitting tribute. A man whose hubris and arrogance nearly destroyed him, nothing he did off the pitch will ever nullify his perfection on it. Kapadia translates his chaotic career into compelling drama, telling a story about an individual genius which speaks to the volatility and fickleness of fame.
This is not story of one man, but two. There's Diego, the shy boy from an Argentinian slum who just wants the best for his family. Then there's Maradona; a fearless matador, a one man hurricane, an unstoppable force - part cheat, part genius.
We're thrown into his turbulent world from the rip-roaring opening sequence, following Diego through Naples in a battered convoy of cars, as fans dive out of shop fronts and alleyways, the blue of Napoli draped on every corner, and all the while accompanied by the pounding relentless track by Todd Terje. Cars dart around corners just as Maradona takes on players, and so the energy continues throughout. It's breathtaking. But all highs must come to an end, and just as Diego struggles with the effects of cocaine addiction, so must we experience the crash of emotion and inevitable decline.
Asif Kapadia balances the two halfs of Maradona's personality beautifully, until we're left thinking, who was this man? In truth, it doesn't matter. He was Diego. He was Maradona. And just like this documentary, he was utterly brilliant.