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Canberra Today 19°/22° | Monday, January 24, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Movie review / ‘The Hand of God’ (MA)

Filippo Scotti as Fabio… an intelligent young man just beyond adolescence has some life-shaping experiences to undergo.

“The Hand of God” (MA) *** and a half

FROM his youth in Italy’s second city, writer/director Paolo Sorrentino has built an autobiographical, quirky and structurally itsy-bitsy examination of the melancholy and confusion besetting young adult Fabio (Filippo Scotti) who senses there must, somewhere, be a life better than the one he’s having, but doesn’t know what it might involve or where to get it.

Fabio is the second son in a middle-class family that functions in a grouping of relatives and friends who live characteristic lives with time to spare. 

It’s 1984. Italy is agog about Fabio’s hero, soccer player Diego Maradona. The film spends a lot of its 130 minutes with Fabio’s enthusiasm about his hero’s career. Some filmgoers might find that tiresome. Patience brings its own rewards.

An intelligent young man just beyond adolescence has some life-shaping experiences to undergo in the journey to adulthood. The film opens with a languid sequence in which Fabio’s aunt Patrizia (a stunningly lovely Luisa Ranieri) prepares to endure her husband’s unjustified fury about her infidelity – then vanishes for most of the rest of the film. Pity. She’s every virile young man’s dream.

In a sequence that, for delicacy and authenticity, might provide a template for movie makers needing to dramatise the event in other movies, Fabio’s ageing aunt initiates him in his biological destiny. 

While swimming just off the island of Stromboli, filmmaker Capuano (Ciro Capano) tells Fabio (and the audience) what movie making is about (some viewers might not agree, until they think a bit harder about it).

The film appears to have been shot with available light. Once you get used to it, the effect can be quite comfortable.

Folk assuming that the film’s title implies a religious element may find it less in size and different in character from what they expected. That’s no reason to put off seeing it.

At Palace Electric and Dendy



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Dougal Macdonald

Dougal Macdonald

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