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The Hand Of God - What We Know So Far

Italian director Paolo Sorrentino is usually known for his satirical dramedies that explore the unseemly side of his home country's society and politics. He's most well-known for his films on controversial politicians Silvio Berlusconi and Giulio Andreotti, and for his two salacious HBO series about the bishop of Rome, "The Young Pope" and the series "The New Pope." His drama about a jaded fashion critic, "The Great Beauty," won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

But Sorrentino's latest effort is a departure from his usual fare. "The Hand of God" is an upcoming Netflix drama set in Sorrentino's hometown of Naples in the 1980s. Not much about the film is publicly known yet. But from what we do know, it sounds like "The Hand of God" will be a coming-of-age tale based on Sorrentino's childhood in 1980's Naples. And it will definitely be Sorrentino's most personal film to date. 

Here's everything we know about "The Hand of God."

What is the release date for The Hand of God?

As detailed in by The Hollywood Reporter, "The Hand of God" will premiere at the 78th International Film Festival, which runs from Sept. 1 to Sept. 11, 2021. After that, the film will be available worldwide on Netflix. The streaming service hasn't announced a specific release date for the film, but it's currently listed as September 2021.

But if we had to bet, we'd put the film's Netflix release date at September 17. Netflix typically releases its films on Tuesdays. Currently, there are two original Netflix films scheduled for a release on a Tuesday in September: "Kate," which drops September 10, and "My Little Pony: A New Generation," which will be available on September 24 (as reported by What's On Netflix). That leaves September 17 as the earliest you can see "The Hand of God" — unless you're in Venice during the week of the first and have the right connections, that is. 

Who is in the cast of The Hand of God?

On September 14, 2020, Variety reported that longtime Sorrentino collaborator Toni Servillo had joined the cast of "The Hand of God," playing the role of Saverio Schisa. Previously, Servillo has appeared in five of the director's films, including Sorrentino's feature debut "One Man Up," as well as "The Consequences of Love," "Il Divo," "The Great Beauty," and "Loro." 

In addition to Servillo, Pledge Times reports that the cast includes Filippo Scotti as Fabietto Schisa, the young protagonist who's most likely a stand-in for Sorrentino during his adolescence. There's also Teresa Saponangelo as Maria Schisa and Marlon Joubert as Marchino Schisa. Other cast members include Luisa Ranieri as Patrizia, Renato Carpentieri as Alfredo, Massimiliano Gallo as Franco, Betti Pedrazzi as Focal Baroness, Biagio Manna as  Armando, Ciro Capano as Capuano, Enzo Decaro as San Gennaro, Lino Musella as Mariettiello, and Sofya Gershevich as Yulia. 

What is the plot of The Hand of God?

Both Paolo Sorrentino and Netflix have declined to share many specific details about "The Hand of God," but based on what they've said, it sounds like it will be a coming-of-age drama based on Sorrentino's childhood in Naples, Italy. Sorrentino did tell Variety that the film "represents for the first time in my career an intimate and personal film, a novel of formation at once light-hearted and painful." He also said that theme of the film is "going back home."

One thing the film won't be about is Argentine soccer star Diego Maradon, or the 1986 World Cup. The phrase "the hand of God" refers to Maradona's controversial goal that won the 1986 World Cup final against England, which Maradona possibly scored by using his hand. Maradona was a character in Sorrentino's 2015 movie "Youth," but Sorrentino has confirmed the film won't be about him. What exactly "The Hand of God" refers to is anyone's guess.