There’s nothing like watching the fall of an icon in real time…
In yet another epic archival doc in the calendar year of 2019, Diego Maradona is a fascinating little pull from the life of a sports icon at the very heights of his power as we seem ostensible drive his own social power and career off of the proverbial cliff.
In a film constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage, this documentary centers on the career of celebrated football player Diego Maradona who played for SSC Napoli in the 1980s.
From Director Asif Kapadia we get a raw look at the price of adoration which the man seemingly loved but also never wanted it at the exact same time as we see his rise from nothing, his embrace of a nearly godlike status in soccer community and all the mistakes that were made along the way.
Kapadia never goes traditional by boring us with talking heads or analysis, instead he dives DEEP into the archives to give us so much footage on the man, and it feels like we know him even if no one ever said a word.
It’s quite possible that Maradona just makes the perfect subject for a documentarian like Asif Kapadia who is drawn to the compelling nature of flawed geniuses at their chosen field. He rather successfully allows us to feel empathy Maradona while acknowledging how genuinely drunk on fame he got while trying to avoid a public eye that he felt like he simply was above. The film really does embrace the idea and sad reality that even though he would shun fame with one hand it would come close to ruining a sport on the other.
The film never lets up in making sure that we see who Maradona really was, warts and all through stories from his own lips and from those who knew him best. While the film can feel a little uneven at times as it spends so much time on his life on the pitch, given the events shown around us and the obvious excesses that we see him enjoy we know that his eventual moment where he cracks underneath his own greatness .
Given that Maradona is actually still alive you can’t help appreciate the honesty in allowing the story to be told, but also in know that for Diego Maradona there’s probably a myriad of different stories that would have shown us how high and ultimately how low he got in his life. This ultimately is a film about how genius and talent don’t always mix with levels of adoration that reach some pretty unhealthy levels. As great as Maradona or any of these people that we adore were or are…at the end of the day…they’re still just people.
Diego Maradona is playing at the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Theatre now and launches on HBO on October 1st.
- Release Date: 9/27/2019