Last night I was taken to the cinema at Watershed in Bristol by a non racing fan Fiona with a professional interest in documentary films to go and see ‘Senna’ a 90 min documentary about three time Formula 1 World Champion Ayrton Senna.
Directed by Asif Kapadia the film is apparently unusual in being the first such documentary which is made entirely of archive footage for its visuals, with a handful of contemporary voiceovers by persons who knew and were involved with Ayrton during his 34 year life.
The film focuses on Senna’s Formula One career from 1984 to 1994 using some excellent TV highlights of his driving prowess mixed with interviews, many of the best conducted in his native Portuguese language, along with drivers meetings which took place before crucial races in Ayrton’s career.
I have to confess, perhaps as a result of having become aware of Grand Prix racing at a time when racing drivers were killed at an alarming rate, I was never the biggest of Senna fans. I always respected his achievements but found the aggression, which I saw him display racing wheel to wheel first hand, in the lower formula before he reached Formula One just a little too foolhardy for my tastes.
However this documentary did leave me with a useful reminder and insight into just how exciting Brazilian Ayrton Senna was to watch at the wheel and just how focused he was with the job at hand.
I loved the relatively low fi 80’s TV picture quality on the giant cinema screen, and could have easily enjoyed this film if it had been an hour longer in the same vane. Much to my surprise Fiona and her partner Caroline both announced they had also enjoyed it !
This cross gender appeal of the drama of Senna’s life no doubt contributed to ‘Senna’ wining the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
No matter how little you know or even like Formula One racing this is a seriously engaging documentary, definitely one not to miss.
My thanks to Fiona for taking me out last night.
Thanks for joining me on today’s ‘Sundance award winning’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !