Diego Maradona (2019)

Directed by Asif Kapadia

Constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage, this documentary centers on the personal life and career of the controversial football player Diego Maradona who played for SSC Napoli and Argentina in the 1980s.

Cambridge Film Festival 2023: Film #11

Asif Kapadia really loves his psychosexual God-like Latin sportsmen, huh? Alas, whilst very rewarding to get a rough idea of Neopolitan and mezzogiorno politics at the time (where was this primer when I was reading Elena Ferrante?), I just can't subscribe to the film's central thesis of the split personality. The idea of the 'good' Diego vs. the 'bad' Maradona grossly simplifies a complex and highly overlapping personal and political situation, in addition to (putting the addiction component to one side for a moment) erasing any sense of agency on Maradona's own part. Indeed, it reminds me a little of the superficial 'duality of man' readings of Robert Louis Stevenson as well as the amateur psychology that underlies 'George Orwell vs. Eric Blair'. Still, it would make for an interesting critical examination of why this is ultimately less compelling than Kapadia's Senna (2010), although this might be more an inditement of celebrity culture and contemporary ideas of death than of Kapadian's talents as a filmmaker.