Paolo Sorrentino’s The Hand of God (2021) is an autobiographical drama about growing up in Naples. The title refers to the history of soccer. The movie references a visit by Federico Fellini to Naples to shoot his next film. Fellini is alleged to have expressed that the only use for movies, is a distraction from reality because “reality is lousy”.
A.O. Scott’s review in the New York Times (14.12.21) raises the question “Do movies distract from the lousiness of reality or try to redeem it, alchemizing its awfulness into beauty?” Paolo Sorrentino said on this “It’s realistic … that was my family. The reality of the eighties, of the south, of families on Sundays in summer, where everybody feels himself like an actor, is something that belongs to our tradition.” Monocle interview, December 2021.
This last week, our Green Mountain Trail team were once again treated to being on the periphery of a four day conversation between life loving friends who seem to have walked a long road of life’s realities together. “We walked and talked and ate and drank, and had the most wonderful time”, was their parting note.
In the midst of Jill Trappler’s EXPLORING TOUCH, when walking from the art studio to the Wildekrans Country House Homestead for dinner, artist Ettie Flax turned and ‘saw’ this view. The following morning, Ettie set herself up under an umbrella and spent hours building this image.
Returning to the world of movies, in January, actor, producer, writer and friend, Neil McCarthy took a drive with his sister Diane, past their old family home. Neil discovered his now grown up yellowwood tree (pictured below). “It was the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Republic. I was eight years old, in Standard 1 at SACS in Newlands, Cape Town. Everyone at school was given a South African flag on a little flagpole and you got to choose a tree from a table of tiny indigenous seedlings in rusty jam tins.
I chose a yellowwood seedling because the city had recently planted a row of yellowwoods in the centre of the new highway, Paradise Rd, right outside my grandparents house. I remember my grandfather saying to me that yellowwood trees were slow growers and that ‘by the time these trees are big, I will be dead, and you will be an old man’. This made me realize that this was a very important tree.”
Gosh, if one had only done that one thing in life, of adding a wondrous tree, I think you could feel content.
The Hand of God opens with a quote from the late Diego Armando Maradona.
“I did what I could. I think I did not do so badly.”
PS: We have space for one or two on a special 25 February weekend Green Mountain Trail. Book here
PPS: If you have not yet seen this beautiful, sad and quirky movie, The Hand of God, it is on Netflix.