Cannes: “Diego Maradona” – the man behind the myth
Quebeckers are crazy about hockey in general and Canadians in particular. Which is nothing compared to the excessive passion of soccer maniacs (soccer). Not for nothing that the screening room was archibonded Monday at 8:30, for the screening of “Diego Maradona”, even if the film is presented out of competition. After Ayrton Senna and Amy Winehouse, Asif Kapadia delivers another groundbreaking documentary that unveils the man behind the myth.
The British director kept the same structure: archival footage with voice-overs, comments from the bodyguards, specialists and the principal concerned. The director is careful not to judge everything, letting the viewer draw his conclusions. And it’s absolutely exciting, with a larger than life character.
Because this is what this feature is about. How Diego, a small guy raised in a shantytown of Argentina, turns into Maradona, a huge football player adored by the crowds. Too much.
A God of sport … at the feet of clay. Who will pay a huge price. Diego is not a saint. A man with women, cocaine addiction, he even refuses to recognize his “illegitimate” son.
But there is a context, on which focuses the documentary: the years 1984 to 1991. Kapadia could count on the images turned by relatives at the time – without censorship. This is absolutely unthinkable nowadays.
After his transfer from FC Barcelona, Maradona arrives in Naples, with a club that has almost never won anything. With “a cheat and a lot of genius,” he pulls the team up, which wins two Italian championships.
The southern city despised by northern Italy has its revenge. And place Maradona in a golden cage, supervised by the Camorra (the Neapolitan mafia). Diego suffocates. His shattering statements, and his success, are beginning to make him unsympathetic.
Then comes the World Cup in 1990. Maradona has already given a title to his country in 1986, but he wants more. In the semifinal, Argentina faces Italy … in Naples. And triumph. A real lèse-majesté crime. Maradona loses all his support. He is dragged to court for his consumption, and then suspended for one year after failing an anti-doping test (cocaine).
Without football, the man is nothing. He begins a spectacular descent into hell, which he never really recovered.
You do not have to be a football fan like my 11 year old son to appreciate Diego Maradona of Kapadia. The film says as much about an extraordinary character as the time when he was at the height of his glory.