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The Hand Of God Movie Review: Self-Indulgent  Self important  Self Pleasuring  Masterpiece

The Hand Of God, Nipples In Naples….Self-Indulgent  Selfimportant  Selfpleasuring  Masterpiece

The Hand Of God(Netflix)

Starring: Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, Marlon Joubert, Luisa Ranieri, Renato Carpentieri, Massimiliano Gallo, Betti Pedrazzi, Biagio Manna and Ciro Capano

Directed by  Paolo Sorrentino

Rating: **

The Hand Of God Movie Review: Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino is one of those   globally  feted  filmmakers whose reputation precedes  him to the  movie theatres.  Anything  Sorrentino does we are  supposed to  clap and swoon over.

If the truth be  told—and it’s about time  it  was—Sorrentino is  grossly  overrated.His cinema is more self-serving than supple,  more ‘me’ than  ‘us’. There is  a quality  of off-putting megalomania in his  movies, as  though the  director, well aware  of his  reputation,  can  afford  to take his glass to the corner of a crowded  room  for  a selfindulgent  swig , as admirers  smile  from a distance,  afraid to disturb the genius in his state of  selfimposed solitude.

 Who knows he  may be plotting his  next masterpiece even as lesser mortals talk shop.

I  don’t  know  whether Sorrentino’s latest  sinfully-overrated film was born over a glass of  the  rejuvenating beverage. There is something distastefully  hemmed-in   about The Hand Of God. It is  fiercely autobiographical : that goes without saying.  What is not  so apparent on the surface is how  unlikeable  Sorrentino’s family is. Compounding the tragedy is the  unstated truth about this dysfunctional  family: it thinks its story is worth  telling in a big Netflix film(just how  much did Netflix pay Sorrentino  to regurgitate his past into this unpleasant  facsimile  in the present???)/

  Set in Naples, the  loveliest  thing about The Hand  Of God is Naples…and nipples.There are an assortment of breast shots , most of them  concentrated on the  pubescent  hero  Fabietto(Filippo Scotti)’s fey  aunt  Patrizia(Luisa Ranieri). Femme fatale,harlot or  Joan of Arc….or a blend of  all, Patrizia is  the  rebel of  the family whose breasts are  the  most assertive part   of her being.

In one  sequence we see, Patrizia sunbathing stark naked on a boat while the rest of the family pretends it’s all  part of  day’s work. Patrizia has  our young  horny hero  Fabietto  bursting in  his pants. Eventually it is an old  bold baroness who initiates  Fabietto into  sex.

Fabietto’s seduction sequence  is  the most distasteful lovemaking  I’ve seen on screen. The Baroness(evidently a big fan of  Mrs Robinson)  first invites Fabietti to brush  her hair then to brush the hair  on her “slit”(the Barroness’ description of her private part) and so on.

Another  bestially  bizarre  sequence has all the womenfolk of  the family  thrashing the unpleasant matriarch  with a child’s bicycle, a tablefan and whatever else they can lay their hands on.

By the time tragedy strikes Fabietto’s life and he is forced to grow up prematurely(this coming-of-age trope has been  done to death  since Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali)  Sorrentino’s storytelling is  afflicted  by a  much deeper tragedy. It’s the tragedy of  a raconteur who has run out of tricks , and doesn’t care. The reputation of a  celluloid genius would see him through

The  rave  reviews for The Hand Of God are testimony to the fact  that the Emperor’s clothes  can go missing anytime and no one would notice. The Hand  Of God has a  lot of the  football genius Maradona’s references. At some  point in this epicurean excursion into self-pleasuring, Maradona unknowingly  saves  Fabietto’s life. But who will save  Sorrentino’s film from charges  of extolling the  irrelevant and the inconsequential?

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