Senna (Asif Kapadia, 2010)

What's it about? A documentary about the days when Formula 1 racing was halfways interesting, not least because of the participation of charismatic characters like Ayrton Senna. This film profiles a true sporting legend.

Is it any good? Some terrific, intimate footage from Senna's life has been assembled and edited together to give a riveting portrait of a highly driven, talented, fearless sportsman. Original race footage and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the F1 landscape is mixed in with snippets of home videos, with the audio from all these clips used to tell the story, rather than using a narration or talking head inserts. In particular, the on-board camera shots from various races are thrilling viewing, even to a non-petrolhead like me, whilst  the capturing of Senna's reaction to Roland Ratzenburger's fatal crash is a really brilliant moment. Senna's famous rivalry with Alain Prost means the Frenchman is slightly unfairly cast as the bad guy, but the real villain of the piece is F1 politics and the increased emphasis on vehicle technology that crept into the sport. It is telling that the press report of Ratzenburger's death mentions the car number, make and manufacturer before the driver's name. All in all, it's a film that captures all the obsession, competition, passion and thrills that you would want from a sporting documentary and is a hundred times more interesting than F1 as it exists today

Anything else I should know? Former F1 president Jean-Marie Balestre comes across as an odious individual in his brief appearances, but he still provides the best quote of the film "The best decision is my decision". I'll be using that the next time I'm in a board meeting. For further reading about Senna, theres an excellent Sports Illustrated article about his career here.

What does the Fonz think? The Fast Senna Show

Buy it on Amazon

No comments:

Post a Comment