Senna

31 Dec

Director: Asif Kapadia

Writer: Manish Pandey

Stars: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Frank Williams

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 106 minutes

 

 

Senna is the first official documentary about the late Formula 1 racing driver Ayrton Senna. The Brazilian superstar of the racing circuit died in his car in 1994 at the San Marino grand prix. This film covers his F1 odyssey from his first races in 1984 through the multiple championship wins and to the tragic events at Imola.

This is a stunning documentary. It is both tragic and life-affirming. There is an enormous amount of previously unseen footage that’s included and the result is a truly insightful look into the finer details of F1 as it became a highly valuable and global sport. For Senna the emergence of Formula 1 as a commercial behemoth was tinged with regret and sadness; he decries the politics and corruption of the sport on a number of occasions. Some of those outbursts are directed at the F1 supremo at the time (Balestre) and some at the leading driver during the mid 1980’s (Prost) and Senna’s sparring with them both is a central theme.

Senna was a superstar of his sport and for all of the right reasons; he was incredibly fast, he pushed himself and his car to the limits in every race, and he became a champion whilst retaining a huge amount of humility and grace. Brazilians adored him during a period of extreme internal upheaval and Senna went on to do a lot for his people. He was a sporting great and this amazing documentary honours him well. And the thrilling on car footage of Senna driving in the city circuit of Monaco in 1988 is unlike anything I have ever seen in any form of racing.

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