Senna [DVD] [2010]

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SennaYou don’t have to be familiar with Formula One–or the tragic destiny of Ayrton Senna–to enjoy this visceral encounter with one of racing’s finest talents. Spanning a decade of Formula One from 1984, Senna picks through archive footage to show a world where traditional driving skills are under threat from the unsporting forces of big business and technical engineering. A gifted newcomer, Senna goes from anonymity at the back of a rain-soaked debut at Monaco to three-time world champion–earning him legendary status in Brazil and igniting the hopes of a struggling population along the way. Between races director Asif Kapadia (The Warrior, Far North) shows us an isolated figure: unskilled at the politics of Formula One and speaking to journalists about ‘pure driving’ as a metaphor for life. On the track, his fierce will to win–fuelled by a bitter rivalry with team-mate Alain Prost–pushes him to the limits of racing brinkmanship, and the scenes of Senna dueling in the wet, weaving down the straight or accelerating towards the disappearing space of a corner rank among the greatest moments of any sports documentary. –Leo Batchelor