Where my skill ends, my faith begins. A strong faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible, Daisaku Ikeda’s words fit his follower Roberto Baggio — one of the most-loved Italian football players of all time — quite well.
Film: Baggio—The Divine Ponytail
Director: Letizia Lamartire
Cast: Andrea Arcangeli,Valentina Bellè,Andrea Pennacchi
Baggio- The Divine Ponytail is a Netflix biopic inspired by the football great Roberto Baggio, famous as much for curling free-kicks as his stylish ponytail on the field. The film takes you back to the 90s, when Baggio, the much-loved superstar of Italian football, was worshipped around the globe. While his skill and strenuous training, despite multiple surgeries, was undisputed, this was also the time for equally celebrated Italian coach Sacchi. Baggio’s infamous fallout with his coach to a glimpse of the other giants of the time, Dunga, this story is a marvellous lesson in hardwork, dedication, success, faith and family.
The beginning is fabulous – a juxtaposition of young Roby practicing for the moment that was to define his life and the very moment being played on the field! The film opens in the beautiful world of young Roby growing up amongst eight siblings, his father fending for the family having given up his racing dreams, and their idyllic home full of love, care and faith.
Being the highest-paid Italian footballer in his teens, his injuries and recovery, finding his feet and place back in the team, Baggio’s supposed promise to his father ‘to win a final against Brazil’ and more, this film on Netflix catches Baggio beyond the field.
There is no Baggio sans Vittorio — his manager, friend. The biopic throws light on what it goes into the making of a great, at the same time showing Baggio as another human, who sometimes fails and suffers. The father-son bond is the soul of the story. In one hour 31 minutes, it sure isn’t possible to sum up the life of the legend with three World Cups, Silver Ball (1994) and Golden Foot (1993) and a spot in FIFA World Cup Dream Team to his credit! But Letizia Lamartire manages to give a glimpse into this soccer giant’s life and times.
Andrea Arcangeli in the title role delivers a gamut of emotions — arrogance, determination and more — largely because the film takes place away from the field. Andrea Pennacchi does a fine job as the father doing the very best for his talented son. One enjoys the lilt of spoken Italian in the passing. While the film touches upon the infamous 1994 final penalty shootout, that Baggio had his ‘liberating’ goal in 1998 World Cup does not make the cut.
Football fans might like to relive Baggio era with this film, the staunch ones may hold a grudge that it does not cover it all,but for the others it makes for an inspiring story to beat the current mood.