IFFR Review: My Name Is Francesco Totti

Film Review of My Name Is Francesco Totti from International Film Festival Rotterdam June 2021.

DIRECTED BY

Alex Infascelli

STARRING

Francesco Totti

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SYNOPSIS

Footballing icon and family man Francesco Totti reminisces about his life and career, a decades-long rollercoaster ride.

The shy family boy at home; a rock star on the pitch. From his teens onwards, Francesco Totti developed to become AS Roma’s footballing icon. On the eve of his final match, he stands in a darkened stadium. How do you reminisce about a quarter century of memories? With footage of course.

My Name Is Francesco Totti is directed by Alex Infascelli and is a documentary that has footballer Francesco Totti retracing his entire life while watching it on the silver screen along with the audience. Images and emotions flow among key moments of his career, as well as scenes from his personal life and memories he has never shared before. One could argue that the Italian football league, Serie A, was at its peak popularity with UK/Ireland audiences during the 90’s, thanks to the Football Italia programmes on Channel 4 during that period. While there was many big names within the league, one youngster that was gradually breaking through at AS Roma in the mid-90’s was Francesco Totti.

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Whilst documentaries about a sporting figure would have several talking heads, giving their points of view as to what made the individual in question a great, Infascelli instead goes with a different creative route: have Francesco Totti himself narrate over archive footage of his childhood upbringing, how he fell in love with the game and the lows and highs of his footballing career, as well as key moments in his personal life. There’s a tremendous amount of footage showcased here, so much so I’m sure there is plenty more that they could’ve used, as we have family videos of Francesco’s childhood, to him playing for Lodigiani at ten-years-old, to his first game in the Roma first team and the season he was made captain, making him the youngest captain in Serie A history. It’s a rich history that the documentary dives into and, even though I was a Francesco Totti fan during his playing career, I reckon it’ll also be particularly interesting to those that enjoy football but missed out on his career or who didn’t really pay attention to Serie A during that time.

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What I really enjoyed in the documentary however was the little details Totti drops over the course of the hour and forty minute runtime, such as how the Lodigiani told his family that they received offers from Lazio and Roma for a young Totti, admitting that he initially didn’t want to go with the first team to Brescia in his first professional call-up as he had plans to hang with his friends that weekend (he was sixteen at the time), and also explaining to the audience how he couldn’t visit the landmarks of Rome he’d want to as he became a household name in the city, making a private life impossible for being one of Rome’s footballing sons, yet he still speaks of his adoration for the city and the people. There is some lovely shots however from Infascelli as there is some of Totti standing in the dark in the middle of the Stadio Olimpico, with the board lights eventually flickering on. The issue with using archive footage for your narrative, is that some things might be like they’ve breezed through, such as the Italian Cups and Italian Super Cup in the late 2000’s. I will admit, I would’ve liked a few talking heads for certain things, like explaining why Francesco Totti is talked about as one of the great Italian footballers, as well as going into the fallout between Totti and Luciano Spalletti during his second stint as Roma manager, but that feels like a documentary all in itself.

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VERDICT

My Name Is Francesco Totti is a decent documentary about the footballer that has a personal touch with him narrating through archive footage. Though really well-edited, it does feel like it rushes to cram everything in the final twenty-minutes.

★★★