How did Paolo Sorrentino make his Oscar-nominated film Hand of God?
by Jaskiran Kaur | Fri, 25 Mar 2022 16:04:47 GMT
Hand of God is nominated for Best International Picture for 2022 Academy Awards; Credits: Netflix

Hand of God enjoyed a pretty good start after its Venice Film Festival premiere last year. The film won the Grand Jury Prize and was then released on Netflix in December.

The film has already done great, owing to its well-thought release in the thickest of the award seasons, along with its universal theme of portraying youth. Hand of God is already set for a BAFTAs debut, followed by Critics Choice, and of course, the 2022 Academy Awards' Best International Film Feature. 

The filmmaker of Hand of God has already once received Oscar's fame with his 2014 film The Great Beauty. The award was also won for the category of Best International Feature, and looks like he's here to repeat history again. 

The film features a story from the coming of the genre, starring a young Italian teenager who is strongly taken by the football brilliance of Diego Maradona and is struggling for his family. The fetching narrative by Paolo is enough for a compelling win at the Oscars by Hand of God. 

The director sat with Discussing Film and shared how he first came across the idea of the film. 

The director has led an intriguing life until now, a life many are interested in. He shared that sometimes he would share his ideas with his family or friends, and they would tell him that those ideas were great or funny. Hence, he thought of making a list of the ideas he had and slowly came across the thought of the film. 

But on the more personal side, the Hand of God is an ode to all the pain that he experienced while he was young. He translated those thoughts and his hurtful experiences into the screenplay, and out of that emerged the story as a solution to his pain. 

Apart from that, coming from Naples, Paolo was also attached to  Diego Maradona just like the protagonist of his story. Maradona had visited Naples when 24, at the top of his game, and the most famous football players around the globe. 

The director was only 14 at the time, and it was simple for him to be influenced by the athlete. The youth was drawn to the greater man, and they aspired to be just as important and successful as Maradona. He was a positive influence for the youngsters of Naples as they admired his skill and talent. 

Moreover, Maradona also came from a poor background and was not a poster boy kind of pretty. Hence, it was his charm and skill that made him popular amongst the people, especially the ones from common backgrounds. That was what drew director Paolo closer to him. 

Talking about the actual making of the film, Paolo revealed that all the actors from the large cast group of Hand of God were natives of Naples. The actors knew him, and they were all a friendly group together. 

While the common acquaintances in them could have led to actors overacting their roles, the director did well for his job to keep that in check. Hence, the experience was "fun" overall. 

The director also talked about his working experience with Toni Servillo, who plays Saverio Scisa in the film. Servillo and Paolo have collaborated on many projects together. 

 Explaining that he is a very good actor, Paolo said that he likes how Servillo is "very brave" with all the characters he plays. Not only is he a great human being but also extremely good with his talent as an actor. 

While Servillo is one of the acting veterans in the film who have been in the industry for a long while, Paolo was also not afraid of casting a new face, Filippo Scotti, as the lead of Hand of God. 

The director began his search for a young fresh face in the city along with his casting director and auditioned many young actors. The actor was shy and reminded Paolo of himself when he was younger. Hence, they chose Scotti as the lead of the film. 

Explaining what his motivation was for making Hand of God, the director explained that he made the film for the younger generations. He wanted to make sure that the film's tone was understood by children and wanted to convey the concept that even the older generations have lived through the same conflicts as young people. 

However, a young person is not always so open to understanding that their elders have gone through similar problems. Hence, he made sure that he used the younger generation as his subject line in the film. 

Further, the film elaborated on the idea that despite the pains and the problems of the younger years, there is always hope for a better future someday. While no one can be certain about what the future holds, there is still hope for the future. Films like these give young people the courage to hope and dream.