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The Hand of God (2021)

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Told largely from the perspective...
Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Told largely from the perspective of the young "Fabietto" (Filippo Scotti), this is a charming tale of this youth who lives with elder brother "Marchino" (Marlon Joubert) and his parents "Saverio" (Toni Servillo) and "Maria" (Teresa Saponangelo). Both teenagers are frequently tempted by their somewhat exhibitionist aunt "Patricia" (Luisa Ranieri) a temptation only matched by their (and the entire city of Naples') desire to see Diego Maradona come and play at Napoli. Director Paolo Sorrentino packs quite a lot into this story. Sex, fun, friendship, betrayal, tragedy, beautiful scenery and a sense of family that is usually quite difficult to encapsulate without becoming too sentimental. The young Scotti (who reminded me a lot of Timothée Chalamet) plays well as an archetypal boy - he likes football and girls, but has no idea about the latter; and the engaging character development from boy to man is told quite imaginatively, I felt. No, it doesn't need a big screen - indeed maybe that...

Calling this a "coming-of...
Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Calling this a "coming-of-age" film is like calling Bud Lite a beer. They're not in the same class. I compare this film to my other favorite re-telling of a seminal childhood memory - Joanna Hogg's Souvenir. The great Austrian poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, once wrote "For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not till they have turned to blood within us, to glance and gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves - not till then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them." And that is visible here. Sorrentino writes this film in his own nameless, demential blood. I laughed. I cried. This film is one of those rare captures of the human condition. This is a brilliant piece of storytelling with masterful direction and top-notch acting. That's all I have to say.

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