The Hand of God (È stata la mano di Dio) (15)


The Hand of God (È stata la mano di Dio) (15)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Runtime: 2h10mins

Cast: Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, Marlon Joubert, Luisa Ranieri, Renato Carpentieri, Massimiliano Gallo, Betti Pedrazzi, Biagio Manna, Ciro Capano,             Enzo Decaro, Lino Musella, Sofya Gershevich

Synopsis: From Academy Award-winning writer and director Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty), comes the story of a young man’s heartbreak and liberation in 1980s Naples, Italy. The Hand of God follows Fabietto Schisa, an awkward Italian teen whose life and vibrant, eccentric family are suddenly upended—first by the electrifying arrival of soccer legend Diego Maradona and then by a shocking accident from which Maradona inadvertently saves Fabietto, setting his future in motion. Sorrentino returns to his hometown to tell his most personal story, a tale of fate and family, sports and cinema, love and loss.


From Academy Award-winning writer and director Paolo Sorrentino [Il Divo (2008), The Great Beauty (2013), Youth (2015), The Young Pope (2016)] comes the story of a boy, Fabietto Schisa [Filippo Scotti – La Gita (2018)] in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s.

Set in the sun-kissed Naples of Paolo Sorrentino’s 1980s youth, The Hand of God is a coming-of-age drama of surreal and baroque beauty. With a star-making turn from Filippo Scotti, this portrait of the artist as a young man crafts a wistfully nostalgic ode to Diego Maradona and Federico Fellini.

The Hand of God won the Silver Lion – Grand Jury Prize and the Marcello Mastroianni Award (to Filippo Scotti, as best emerging actor) at the 78th Venice International Film Festival and is the film chosen to represent Italy at the Oscars®. It has also just received three European Film Awards nominations (Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay).

Exquisite, visually arresting, this is a highly personal and autobiographical love letter to Naples in the 1980s from writer and director Paolo Sorrentino.

Fabietto Schisa (a mesmerising performance from Filippo Scotti) is a shy, awkward teenager whose eccentric, noisy, large family mostly substitute as his friends. During volatile times, the most exciting thing happening is the potential arrival of a world-class famous soccer player. There is much family drama with quirky characters and intriguing and engaging episodes. Young Fabietto pursues his love for football as family tragedy strikes in this story of fate, family sports and cinema. and love and loss.

A superb ensemble cast includes Sorrentino regular Tony Servillo; and there is gorgeous cinematography from Daria D’Antonio and an atmospheric score by Lele Marchitelli.

Described as writer and director Paolo Sorrentino’s most personal film to date, this feeling is evident throughout, but filtered through magical scenarios and eccentric characters that are interchangeably intriguing and engaging.

As The Hand of God opens, Fabietto and his apparently happily married parents, Saverio and Maria (Toni Servillo and Teresa Saponangelo, respectively), hold onto one another, riding the family scooter over to Aunt Patrizia (Luisa Ranieri). She is hiding from domestic violence at the hands of her abusive partner Franco, who believes Patrizia is arriving home later than expected, not due to the lateness of the bus, but because she is a prostitute. By way of reply, she recounts her meeting with San Gennaro, the Patron Saint of Naples.

At an outdoor summer family get-together, we meet his very large, extravagantly unusual family. On a boat trip, Fabietto, an awkward teenager must repress lustful, adolescent urges for his glamorous Aunt Patrizia who decides to sunbathe in the nude.

At home, Fabietto shares a bedroom with his brother, Marchino (Marlon Joubert), who dreams of becoming an actor and the siblings go to an audition for a Federico Fellini film. Fabietto has also rented Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America starring Robert De Niro, that the family plans to watch together at some point.

But it is Napoli with Maradonna playing at home and Fabietto’s love of football which saves him from an unexpected tragedy. Fate, joy and tragedy combine, and Fabietto’s future is set in motion.

The film fittingly has Napule è sung by the late, Pino Daniele over the credits, which like the film reflects the colour, sights, sounds, drama and humanity of Naples.

In cinemas and streaming on Netflix from December 15

 Images courtesy of: Netflix. Photographs by Gianni Fiorito