The Rewind

The Superb Documentary On Diego Maradona At Napoli Is On TV This Week

The Superb Documentary On Diego Maradona At Napoli Is On TV This Week

Given the wonderful rollercoaster that unfolds in Asif Kapadia's superb documentary about Diego Maradona's time in Naples, it's difficult to pick out one standalone moment but we'll try.

At a party with his Napoli teammates, the camera lingers on the face of Diego Armando Maradona for a few moments as the audience gets to see a level of vulnerability and pain that's normally hidden by the Argentinian superstar.

A man that was once revered as a God by the entire city, a footballer that everyone wanted a piece of, an icon that embraced the mantra of 'work hard, play hard,' has no come undone.

All that's left is the very real presence of a man that's trapped in a tainted paradise that he once ruled over.

In this moment it's clear that Maradona was a footballer that conquered the world, but was destroyed by a city.

Throughout the feature, we get a look at a personal life that was plagued by domestic disputes, cocaine addiction, and dealings with shady characters in the underworld of the Naples mob. Wherever Maradona goes, drama follows.

However, the documentary constantly addresses and challenges the dualities and contradictions of Maradona's persona.

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In narrative terms, the film hinges on one quote that Maradona's former trainer, Fernando Signorini, gave to the director: "For Diego, I would go to the end of the world... But with Maradona, I wouldn't take a step."

Having captivated sports fans with the wonderful Senna, Kapadia followed that up with the Oscar-winning Amy and the director very much sees Maradona as the concluding part of a trilogy.

In terms of an aesthetic approach, Kapadia's use of archive material is exquisite because right from the off - which features manic footage of a race through Naples before Maradona is presented to the adoring crowd at the San Paolo - there's a frantic and kinetic energy that's impossible to deny.

The film was constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from Maradona's personal archive, so there's some remarkable footage that's never been seen before.

Even if you're not a football fan, there's plenty to enjoy in the documentary and since its release, Diego Maradona has really resonated with critics and fans alike.

At present, the documentary holds a 78% rating on Metacritic and 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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As the official synopsis states: "On 5th July 1984, Diego Maradona arrived in Naples for a world-record fee and for seven years all hell broke loose. The world's most celebrated football genius and the most dysfunctional city in Europe were a perfect match for each other.

"Maradona was blessed on the field but cursed off it; the charismatic Argentine, quickly led Naples to their first-ever title. It was the stuff of dreams. But there was a price... Diego could do as he pleased whilst performing miracles on the pitch, but when the magic faded he became almost a prisoner of the city."

You can see how this unfolded when Diego Maradona airs at 9pm on Channel 4 on Saturday, 21 March.

It's definitely worth a watch.

Take a look at what's in store.

Clip via Altitude Films

Paul Moore

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