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Sorrentino will receive the award in person in Zurich on Sept. 29 before the screening of his latest feature, The Hand of God. The autobiographical coming-of-age story is set in Naples in the 1980s and stars Filippo Scotti as a young man growing up much like Sorrentino did in the southern Italian city. The title refers to a legendary, if illegal, goal scored by Argentine footballer Diego Maradona in the 1986 World Cup. At the time, Maradona, considered the greatest footballer of his time, played for Naples squad.
Sorrentino’s frequent collaborator Toni Servillo co-stars in The Hand of God, which will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Produced by Fremantle-owned company The Apartment, The Hand of God goes out worldwide via Netflix.
“I am happy and honored to receive this award because it is always nice to be celebrated and because this recognition comes from a Festival whose mission is in the discovery of talent,” said Sorrentino. “Participating at the ZFF this year, with my most personal film, is very exciting for me because The Hand of God speaks also about the moment when each of us takes courage and admits to ourselves and to others that we want to try the unconscious and crazy venture of being a director.”
Sorrentino is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest Italian filmmakers of his generation. Born in Naples in 1970, he has shown tremendous range in the subjects and style of his work, from the restrained romance of The Consequences of Love (2004) to the bacchanalian excess of The Great Beauty (2013), which won an Academy Award for best international film.
Sorrentino has also been active on the small screen, with the critically acclaimed HBO series The Young Pope (2016) and its sequel, The New Pope (2019).
The 2021 Zurich International Film Festival runs Sept. 23 to Oct. 3. Zurich will announce its full festival program Sept. 9.
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