Directed by Asif Kapadia
HOME, 20 June 2019
Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.
So what we have here is the tragic tale of Maradona, sublime footballer and flawed (mind you, who isn’t?) human being. Born in an Argentine slum, he went on to win the world championship for his own bedevilled country and the Italian championship, Serie A, for his adopted city of Napoli. Then there came the fall, following the game where Argentina put Italy out of Italia ’90 – in the Napoli stadium, no less. Prosecutions for drug use, all the rest.
It is a brilliantly constructed documentary, the way it snakes back then forward in time, with lots of excerpts of Maradona in play. His greatest strength, we learn, was his brain. Football is a game of deception and he fooled, out-thought, them all. And you cannot deny that he worked and trained hard, that he endured a lot of pain (an ankle injury, a recurring back ache),that he paid his dues.
Asif Kapadia interviews many people, including the player’s personal trainer, who introduces a distinction between Diego (the boy who simply wanted to play football and buy his parents a house) and Maradona (an arrogant, ultra-confident star with a sense of absolute entitlement). If Diego didn’t have Maradona, he would have remained in Argentina: underappreciated, a journeyman footballer. But Maradona at his worst is a nightmare; he doesn’t allow Diego to do what he is best at. Only when they are harmony do we get Diego Maradona, genius footballer, an irresistible force.
In the end, you are left with a fumbling gratitude that he managed to achieve all that he did. Naturally you’d have to wanted to get more out of him. But really, just be grateful that we got all that we did.
Another fine documentary by Asif Kapadia, right up there with Senna and Amy.