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Pennac: I saw Maradona – documentary

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“O mum, mum, mum, oh mum, mum, mum, do you know why the corazon is beating me? I saw Maradona, I saw Maradona, hey mom in love I know”. And Diego won another heart: that of Daniel Pennac.

It is called “Daniel Pennac: I saw Maradona!” the documentary directed by Ximo Solano with the famous French writer Daniel Pennac, who in Naples “unbearably noisy” meets those who loved Diego Armando Maradona: from simple fans to Roberto Saviano, Maurizio De Giovanni and Luciano Ferrara. The writer who travels between fairy tales, noir and family stories has come to Naples to tell Santa Maradona – as the title of a famous film had said years ago – a myth, an icon, as a “secular boss” for Naples. But it is precisely the literary father of the scapegoat Benjamin Malaussene who wants to explore why the disappearance of Diego – also a scapegoat – was experienced by many, by all those who loved him, so intensely.

In the photo from left Daniel Pennac and Diego Armando Maradona

Maradona had such a great impact on the lives and stories of ordinary and non-ordinary people – Maradonians – and to understand this, Pennac embarks on a kind of creative, theatrical and surreal investigation. With Naples playing its part, not just as stage and setting, as it has decided in Diego’s life. Because as De Giovanni explains: Napoli won neither before nor after Maradona, and Maradona the same”. An intertwining of destinies which according to Saviano will not pass easily because it was the only promise kept in the South of those years.

From left to right: Roberto Saviano – Daniel Pennac and Maurizio De Giovanni at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium

Pennac: “the Neapolitans shouted Maradona like a parent”

What seemed like an oddity at first – Pennac was not a fan – decides to take Diego to the theater with a heterogeneous company of Maradona fans, united by this pain that has touched the world and not just his friends. Everything to understand and show that the Pibe de Oro: “It was not a god, but a state of mind”. The reflection on the character as a global media phenomenon, though many have not even seen him perform, who is honored “as if he were a relative”. Why? According to Pennac because in Maradona muscles and poetry coexist, as perhaps only in Cassius Clay-Mohammed Ali. It produced that “permanence of emotion” linked to the Argentine champion who was first alive, and now…

His full capacity to be loved by the greatest number still shines, for his humanity, for a particular family – dysfunctional like that of Malaussene. And the scapegoat role returns – with that difficult, easy-to-exploit private – perhaps to balance out the magic that was absolute on the pitch. For having always played left-handed all his life as a man, as almost always on the playing fields, except when “he had legs like an identity card” (cit. Maradona).

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