Asif Kapadia's Maradona opens on a boxy little fiat screeching through the ragged streets of Naples, July 1984. Interspersed with this journey, we see grainy footage of a boy of 10, maybe 11, doing juggling tricks with a soccer ball in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires.
The ball is already an extension of him, floating from his foot to his forehead and back again as if on an invisible string. Then a skinny 15-year-old, his ragged curls looking heavier than the rest of him, screaming past players twice his size in the Argentinian Primera Division, jumping over flailing legs and skipping past stamping feet. Then we see the superstar, the big transfer to Barcelona in 1983. We see him out, dancing, mugging for the camera, his ankle quite horrifically broken by Andoni Goikoetxea (or the Butcher of Bilbao, as he was known), and his revenge months later when he'd returned from injury, leading to an all-out brawl, and he is again without a club.
Maradona is the third in what the director calls a "trilogy about child geniuses and fame". Kapadia explores with Diego Maradona the same territory as he did with Amy Winehouse and Ayrton Senna; that fork in the road where unimaginable notoriety splits the self in two. Many of the interview subjects say there was Diego, the affectionate, insecure kid from the slums; and there was Maradona, the coked-up, egomaniacal genius. “For Diego, I would go to the end of the world ... But with Maradona, I wouldn't take a step," his personal trainer surmises. We see Diego himself in various TV interviews from the peak of his fame, speaking airily of Maradona as though it's someone else.