Paolo’s love letter to his homeland: Viva Italia!

Brent Northup

Hand of God

All art is autobiographical, whether drawing from life lived or life imagined – or a delicious blend.

Italian director Paolo Sorrentino delayed an invitation to Hollywood during COVID times. Instead, returning to his hometown of Naples to craft a memoir capturing his coming of age.

His early years pivoted around his parents who both died tragically when he was 16.

Fabietto (aka Paolo) was an awkward soccer-crazy boy who was curious about sex, but too shy to approach beautiful Italian ladies. The closest he could come to putting his ball in the net was to watch Diego Maradona score headers for his Naples team.

Filippo Scotti as Fabietto, in a scene from “Hand of God.”


One elderly baroness gifts Fabietto with an end to his virginity, a scene that seems more educational than erotic, more PBS than porn. When he asks if he might return, she firmly says, no: Now that you know how it’s done, go find somebody your own

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