‘1 Man 365 Films 365 Days’ – Day 172

#130 / 365 – ‘Senna’ – 106 mins
Cinema Challenge #52 / 115

This story charts the monumental life and tragic death of legendary Brazilian motor-racing Champion, Ayrton Senna. Spanning the decade from his arrival in Formula One in the mid 80’s, the film follows Senna’s struggles both on track against his nemesis, French World Champion Alain Prost, and off it, against the politics which infest the sport. Privately, he is humble, almost shy, and fiercely patriotic, donating millions to his native Brasil and contemplating a life beyond motor-racing.

Being an avid fan of Formula One and to say I was looking forward this watching documentary film of arguably the greatest motor racing driver ever to grace the sport, Ayrton Senna, was an understatement and due to its limited release and huge popularity film club members finally got to watch it after three failed attempts.

With the rivalry between Senna and Alain Prost is the motor of the film, it never vilifies Prost but instead shows his ability to play the political game, and how excellent he was at it. However the real success of the documentary, is the tremendous amount of footage, some 15000 hours which includes drivers’ briefings, home movies and driver cameras that London film-maker Asif Kapadia has painstakingly trawled through and masterfully stitched together so that everything is running seamlessly in bringing this remarkable story to screen.

The final segment of the film brings you onto the blackest weekend in the history of the sport at Imola, San Marino, it’s here the pace of the film changes and so rightfully it should, as it is highly emotional and leaves you with a sense of numbness. It is hoped one day we will be able to enjoy the unedited version of this riveting story, as quite simply you can’t include everything here.

Senna is a flawless, emotive and compelling documentary on a legend who had the drive, passion and natural ability unlike anyone else and demands to be seen wherever you are a fan of the sport or not.

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