Diego Maradona, Asif Kapadia’s latest film, is entirely comprised of archival footage, most of which comes from Italian news sources that preyed upon the famed Napoli soccer player. Focusing solely on his years in Naples — which he came to through one of the most expensive transfers in the history of soccer — the documentary is limited in its scope, but it’s also neither overly passionate nor partial towards its main subject. The usual talking-heads material is here replaced by a host of voices that speak and interact with the film’s images, which is somewhat commendable. The fact that 90% of the voices are either in Spanish or Italian also works to add genuine sincerity and emotion to the narrative of Maradona’s decline. (The latter segments of the film focus on how his cocaine habits went public.) Although the filmmakers have touted the footage as having never been seen before, the events and facts presented aren’t exactly new — and the limited amount of time that the film actually devotes to its subject is a major deficiency. It’s a useful primer on this legendary soccer figure, but not much more.
Published as part of September 2019’s Before We Vanish.