By Gregory Crofton
What in the world was it like to be Diego Maradona?
Director Asif Kapadia, a pioneer of archival documentary cinema, gives us a real sense of how life got so fast for Maradona, a young man who faced intense public scrutiny during his winning career as a professional soccer player.
Maradona was born into poverty in Argentina but eventually was able to support his family because of his success on the field. He played for Barcelona and then Naples, and was allowed to return home every four years to represent Argentina in the World Cup. Political challenges and split loyalties resulted that eventually caught up with him, as did his nightlife.
Kapadi is best known for his archival doc work on “Senna” (2010) and “Amy,” (2015). He also directed two episodes of David Fincher’s “Mindhunter” (Season 1 Ep. 3 and 4). Kapadia tells stories with news clips and other archival footage and doesn’t use voiceovers. His approach creates a momentum drawing you into Diego’s sumptuous life, one filled with glory, sultry excess, hard work and immeasurable talent.
With the absence of staid sit-down interviews typically relied on in a sports bio doc, there’s plenty of room for the soundtrack, a mix that ranges from synth to orchestral music. The soundtrack increases the power of the images, in my opinion the best alchemy of cinema, and together they produce an electricity on screen.
“Diego Maradona” is streaming on HBO Max. Find a trailer below and an interview with the director, Asif Kapadia.