Julie Delpy Praises ‘The Hand of God’ for Expressing ‘Where the Need to Create Comes From’

Julie Delpy The Hand of God
Delpy: Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Sipa USA/AP Images

For Variety‘s Writers on Writers, Julie Delpy pens a tribute to “The Hand of God” (screenplay by Paolo Sorrentino).

What is truly brilliant about “The Hand of God” is that it is more than the linear memory of events that made Sorrentino the storyteller he is. The film includes stories he grew up with — all those myths and truths that create our personal history. By not exposing us to only “real” events, Sorrentino brings us deeper into his subconscious. As Fabietto says at one point, he doesn’t like reality; and the film respects what young Sorrentino felt then.

The film doesn’t give you all the keys, but like any work of art, gets to you on a subtler, deeper level. The film is pure, fragmented and honest. It employs no melodramatic tricks, yet what unfolds in front of our eyes is a tragedy — the tragedy that made Sorrentino a filmmaker. For him, as with so many artists, expressing himself in this way is a need, like breathing oxygen.

There is so much I love about this film: the way Sorrentino takes us on his journey; how every single character feels so real; how not everyone is nice to one another yet there is so much love. This film exposes who Sorrentino is but ultimately it speaks about all artists, about where the need to create comes from — it comes from love of life, but also from pain. Only a few of us are lucky enough to be able to express it through our art.

Sorrentino has lived with this story for years. He calls it an obsession. Now was the right time to make the film; a beautiful portrait of the genesis of a true storyteller and artist. It should be handled with care.

Delpy is an actor, screenwriter, director and writer who recently wrote, directed and starred in the Netflix and Canal Plus series “On the Verge.”