“Maradona by Kusturica“, interview in French magazine So Foot #50

  • Why this idea to make a film on Maradona ?
    • Emir Kusturica : The first reason is that I'm one of the millions of people around the world who jumped with joy when he scored his two goals against England in 1986. That match is perhaps the first and last time there was justice in the world. Argentina and Serbia are two countries that have been crushed by the IMF. The IMF is a Western power, Argentina and Serbia are fighting against it. So, I feel a closeness to Maradona. Moreover, in Serbia, Maradona is very popular, our Football resembles that of the Argentineans. It is sometimes said that I am the Maradona of cinema … The second reason is that I read some of the books that appeared on him, newspaper articles, I listened to the radio, and each time I found that the authors did not do him justice.
  • More than the player, it's the rebel that interests you?
    • EK : There is that. The idea originated at this summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina, during which Maradona spoke to criticize Bush. I found that very strong. But do not forget the player, beautiful. I still remember the first time I heard about him in 1979 at the Tokyo World Juniors. He had done fantastic things. Recently, he came to see us in Serbia, to explain the goal he had scored with Barcelona against the Red Star of Belgrade. A pure moment of genius.
  • In Black Cat, White Cat, your character Matko the Gypsy plays alone a game of cards, cheats anyway, wins a game and exclaims: “Maradona! ”. Why ?
    • EK : My idea was to make the ultimate feeling of victory. At first, the actor should have shouted “goal! ”. And then, stronger than “goal! There is “Maradona! Because a Maradona goal is still above that, it's not just any goal.
  • At what point did the choice of documentary rather than fiction come about?
    • EK : Because you had to make a portrait. A portrait is the truth. But that's what I blame other films about Maradona: they revolve around him, and use it to tell another story. In the end, they miss the impact it has had on the whole world. Maradona is a real story, no need to add fiction.
  • The other movies on him are bad?
    • EK : Movie directors do not understand football. They are unable to talk about it.
  • Do you think Diego Maradona is a real movie character?
    • EK : As an actor, he's an amazing entertainer. He was born for the show. But there is more than that. If Andy Warhol had lived in our time, it was not Marilyn's paintings he would have made, but Diego's. If Maradona had not been a footballer, he would have found another way to become a star, and he would have succeeded. Maradona is an icon. The biggest icon of the last twenty or thirty years, no problem. And it's not a popularity made by the media, or Coca, or Pepsi, as for current players. Today, you can not even go pee without seeing a Coca or Pepsi ad.
  • Yes, but anyway, Maradona has also advertised and for Pepsi, and for Coca …
    • EK : Maybe, but marginally. What I mean is that if Maradona has become an icon, it's his games and his goals that he has to. Not because of what he was doing next. Of course he had sponsors, he did ads, but it comes after. For a player like Beckham - who is a good player - it's the opposite: it's the side that made him become so famous. His matches, less.
  • How did you come into contact with Diego?
    • EK : By the production. At first, he was not very willingfull. I think that all these media solicitations, he is a little fed up. Sometimes he would like to be quiet. But since he also has another side of his personality that draws him irretrievably to the media, he finally said yes.
  • He saw your movies?
    • EK : None. But I think he had already heard of me.
  • Was shooting with him easy?
    • EK : It was a bit complicated. Sometimes he forgets his duties and responsibilities. Once we came to Argentina, he forgot, we missed him. That's why I'm on this movie for so long, many years. Diego, once is yes, once is no.
  • Did he ask you a lot of money?
    • EK : Not a penny, never. His participation in this film is completely free.
  • At his contact, did you discover anything about him that surprised you?
    • EK : I had the intuition that he was smart, now I'm sure. Talking to him - and we're talking to each other regularly, even today - I've discovered how much more mature he was than we wanted to make him believe. Especially at the political level. He rallied behind Christina Kirchner in the Argentine elections. It's not to be close to power, but because he knows that the previous government did a good job of messing up the IMF. He thinks the country is fine, and he wants continuity. This is the proof that he has a political conscience, and that he knows how to make analyzes.
  • And his dark side?
    • EK : Maradona really has a double personality. Like all of us, by the way, but at home, he is necessarily exacerbated. He can be great, so necessarily his negative side can be extremely negative. We were talking earlier about his ads for Pepsi or Cola, or his political commitment. Diego has no problem to criticize the United States one day, and take the money from Coke the next day. Or to cheat on the ground. Finally, we always come back to this match against England. A goal angel, a goal demon. These are the two faces of his genius. Maradona is a kind of saint. He has seen death face many times, he almost killed himself, but the truth is that I believe that God refuses to take him back.
  • He seemed happy to you?
    • EK : It depends on the periods. One day, we took him back to Villa Fiorito, his native slum, and we filmed his childhood home. He was happy like everything. At other times, it's harder. Maradona reminds me of Marlon Brando, or other great movie actors. Once they get off stage, they do not know how to live. The ideal life, for Diego, it would have been a match whose referee would never have whistled the end.
  • The fact that the Marlon Brando of modern times is a football player, how do you analyze it?
    • EK : That's perfectly normal. Maradona also became what he became because he played football and not another sport, and because he played there in the 80's, the decade when the sport became incredibly popular, especially at the television. The time of Maradona is that of the peak of the individual in football. Maradona, with his dribbles, his telegene, his ability to change a game alone, was perfect for that time. Moreover, this period ended precisely with the second goal of Maradona against England. Since then, we have moved on to something else, in football as in society.

Interview conducted par Stéphane Régy, translated by Matthieu Dhennin.

en/itv_07-12_sofoot.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/11 13:15 by matthieu1