or Connect
CHUD.com Community › Forums › THE CHEWERS › Reader Reviews › Senna (2010)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Senna (2010)

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

I saw the Senna documentary last night at a screening in Ireland and all I can say is - wow. It's an incredible achievement. Director Asif Kapadia has put together a compelling, thrilling, fascinating and ultimately heartbreaking tale, effortlessly weaving never-before seen archive footage with new interviews in an attempt to convey what kind of a man, and what kind of a driver, Ayrton Senna was.

The story of how some of the races and championships unfolded are pure Hollywood ; but the difference is - they were real. If you wrote a film script about a driver finishing his home race despite being stuck in sixth gear for the final few laps it would be considered far-fetched. But that's exactly what happened to Senna at the 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix. The film also tells the story of the relationship Senna had with his bitter rival and erstwhile teammate - Alain Prost.

One of the most refreshing things about the documentary is that although new interviews were shot with various people, including McLaren boss Ron Dennis, The Guardian's Richard Williams and Professor Sid Watkins to name but a few, we never actually see them onscreen - we just hear their audio. So we are never pulled from the story visually - the film is made up of 100% archive.

For those who don't follow F1 it gives them a fresh appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes over the course of a race weekend and offers a tiny glimpse into what it takes to drive a Formula One car to, and sometimes beyond, the limit.

And for those who ARE familiar with the story and know what's coming, it’s a real treat. Amazing onboard footage shows the skill Senna had behind the wheel, before the purity of the sport was polluted with electronic driver aids and various other gizmos. And if, like me, you remember seeing F1's darkest weekend unfold before your very eyes seventeen years ago, seeing the introductory aerial shot of the Imola circuit with the title card "May 1994" will send a shiver down your spine.

Not necessarily everything is shown here. Senna's amazing drive in the rain at Donington Park in 1993 or how he stopped his car on the circuit and got out to help Érik Comas who had crashed during practice at the 1992 Belgian Grand Prix are two things I noticed were missing (although we do see shots of both incidents over the end credits). If there is a longer cut of the film then hopefully we will get to see it when it is released on DVD.

Whether you liked Senna or not is irrelevant. Whether you like documentaries or not is irrelevant. And whether or not you are a fan of Formula One or motorsport in general is irrelevant. This is simply unmissable. And make sure you see it in the cinema if at all possible.

post #2 of 31

I've been looking forward to this one since I saw the trailer a few months ago but I don't know what the release will be like in NZ.

post #3 of 31

This movie is fucking incredible. I was able to see it before it vanished from Netflix. It will see an american theater release on August 12th for those that are interested.

post #4 of 31

I'm so excited for this. I can't wait to watch it. Senna has to be one of the most fascinating sports personalities ever.

post #5 of 31

Yeah dying for this to finally get a release down here.

post #6 of 31

It seems that we won't see it here until the end of September! As ardent admirers of Aryton Senna, and everything he stood for - it looks to be a true masterpiece. One that we can't wait to watch, then buy copies for ourselves and all of our friends who are fans of F1. 

 

Oh - and if anyone is looking for an excellent read while waiting for the film to release in your neighborhood - Senna Versus Proust by Malcolm Folley is an outstanding portrait of the rivalry between Aryton Senna and Alain Proust. Just magnificent.

 

 

post #7 of 31

I SAW IT ON THE WEEKEND!

 

Sorry, I saw it on the weekend as part of an International Film Festival (along with the stupidly fun Troll Hunter and the majestically hilarious The Guard) and it lived up to and surpassed its promise. I'm not even the biggest F1 fan but for me it really is as good as DD in the OP and Mark Kermode on the BBC said it is. A very compelling and affecting sports documentary which, as all the best sports docos do, transcends sport.

post #8 of 31

REVIEW: SENNA

by Renn Brown: link

Renn loves thinks this documentary is brilliant.
post #9 of 31

The documentary is brilliant and so is that review.

 

post #10 of 31

Probably one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. I'm a huge F1 fan, so seeing all this amazing footage of perhaps the greatest driver in the history of the sport was amazing. Such a beautiful film.

post #11 of 31

Has this only just come out over in the States then?  If you have any love for motorsport go see this, it is fantastic and the footage they use from some of the races is pant wettingly good.

post #12 of 31

It's on iTunes right now as a rental, for anyone interested.  Just saw it last night.

 

Such a brilliant film.  That on-board camera produced some of the most riveting race footage I have ever seen.  Although I love the documentary, this should be adapted into a dramatic film.  A great scenery chewing Jeremy Irons would be fantastic as the president of FIA.

 

Absolutely loved it.  It's a masterclass in editing.

post #13 of 31

Just caught this on Netflix Instant, was completely blown away.  This documentary was every bit as thrilling and emotional as a dramatic picture, although I often found myself wanting more: more incredible racing footage, more FIA political intrigue, more insight on the relationship with Prost, more details on the life of the man himself.  That's not a criticism of the picture, only that I found it so compelling, by the end it felt too short. 

 

The film made Prost out to be the perfect foil for Senna, and both he and Senna had wonderful dramatic arcs.  Someone needs to write that screenplay.

post #14 of 31

I finally got around to seeing this doc.

As a follower of motorsports (NOT nascar!), it was very cool to see the background history of one of the best drivers F1 has ever had. 

I knew a bit about Senna's history but I wasn't that aware of the 'ego clashes' between Senna and Proust.

It was a little weird as I knew how the film would end...as it gets to the race in Imola in 94, I kinda wanted to stop the film there...

 

"Senna" does a good job in showing all the politics and egos of those involved in F1....and the politics and egos are just as strong now...maybe even more so.

 

If I could offer up another docu. about motorsports that is worth watching...specifically MotoGP

 

"Faster" (not to be confused with the film w/The Rock)

it's narrated by Ewan McGregor (he's a big bike nut)

of note- I'm a little biased toward motocycle racing :)

 

 

 

 

post #15 of 31

As an exercise in style I think it is outstanding. As an exploration of truth I think it is questionable. 

 

I mean, I love the behind-the-scenes machinations where you see the drivers and administrators of the game at loggerheads. Over the years professional sport of all varieties has become remarkably adept at hiding such from public eye (via information access control, legal threats etc.) and any attempt to lift this shroud is commendable. 

 

But I think the professionalism of Prost vs the romanticism of Senna is a bit of a false dichotomy. The truth is more complex, IMO, with any division between the two being far more blurred than the opinion of the film maker(s).

 

To be honest I was half expecting a finale in which they erect a gold effigy of Senna toward which I was expected to prostrate myself.

 

 

 

post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Foster View Post

 

But I think the professionalism of Prost vs the romanticism of Senna is a bit of a false dichotomy. The truth is more complex, IMO, with any division between the two being far more blurred than the opinion of the film maker(s).


I think you're absolutely right and I was glad that by the end they at least showed Prost was a good guy with his priorities on straight.

post #17 of 31

 

Originally Posted by Geoff Foster View Post

As an exploration of truth I think it is questionable... The truth is more complex, IMO, with any division between the two being far more blurred than the opinion of the film maker(s). 


So what? That goes for pretty much every documentary ever.

 

I reviewed this a while ago, although my review isn't as good as Renn's, I don't think. The movie lost me a bit with all the minutiae about the sport, but overall I really enjoyed it.

post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteboy Jones View Post

 


So what? That goes for pretty much every documentary ever.

 

No. It doesn't.

 

 

post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteboy Jones View Post

So what? That goes for pretty much every documentary ever.

 

I reviewed this a while ago, although my review isn't as good as Renn's, I don't think. The movie lost me a bit with all the minutiae about the sport, but overall I really enjoyed it.


Personally, it was the minutia and the 'behind the scenes' footage that I find the most interesting....it's something that you don't see a lot these days in motorsports racing. The racing organizations do their damnedest to keep the 'controversies' behind closed doors.    

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Foster View Post

No. It doesn't.


Could you give us an example of an completely unbiased documentary?

 

 

 

post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by VTRan View Post


Could you give us an example of an completely unbiased documentary?

 

 

 


No documentary can be completely free of bias. But since I didn't demand such I really don't understand the question - other than being a silly straw man distraction. 

 

If you want a good comparison in the context of my point about exploring truth - try "Salesman" by the Maysles Brothers and get back to me.

post #21 of 31

 

Originally Posted by Geoff Foster View Post

No documentary can be completely free of bias. But since I didn't demand such I really don't understand the question


Well, what were you demanding, then? Since I can't really tell, I don't understand your problem. Did you not like that the filmmakers took a clear stance in favor of Senna? There's no prohibition on such an approach.

post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteboy Jones View Post

 


Well, what were you demanding, then? Since I can't really tell, I don't understand your problem. Did you not like that the filmmakers took a clear stance in favor of Senna? There's no prohibition on such an approach.



I'm not sure what more I can say. I thought the meaning of the phrase "exploration of truth" was about as self-evident as it gets. Did the filmmakers make every effort to accurately represent events, opinions and so forth?

 

As someone who has followed F1 for the best part of thirty years (and before you ask I have no preference for Senna or Prost) I'd say no. Hence my verdict of "questionable" insofar as truth is concerned.

 

Whilst I don't expect documentaries to synthesise down to the last atom prior events I do think truth is important and since the humble documentary remains divisible from fiction as a genre I guess others think so, too.

 

post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Foster View Post


No documentary can be completely free of bias. But since I didn't demand such I really don't understand the question - other than being a silly straw man distraction. 

 

If you want a good comparison in the context of my point about exploring truth - try "Salesman" by the Maysles Brothers and get back to me.


Well, it seemed as though you were that dissatisfied with 'Senna' because it wasn't a perfect "exploration of truth"....?  perhaps your expectations were set too high?

 

Seeing as the film was named 'Senna', I knew before I even watched it that Ayrton was going to be the focus of the film and by extension, biased toward him....I didn't really expect otherwise.

 

With documentaries like this one, especially these days, I usually expect a somewhat simplified version of the subject(s) "story"....IMO, you will need a good deal more than 90-120 minutes to flesh out all the minutia of a person's life. 

 

If I had made the film, I think it would have been interesting and possibly added more 'weight' to the film to delve into Prost's background and history in the sport as a juxtaposition to Senna's life...but that's me. 

 

'Salesman' sounds interesting but I have to admit that I would end up watching it through my own biased eyes as I find people that use religion to take advantage of others, quite offensive....that being said, I'm going to add it to my Netflix queue. (I see that it's part of the Criterion collection....!!) 

post #24 of 31

 

Originally Posted by Geoff Foster View Post

I'm not sure what more I can say. I thought the meaning of the phrase "exploration of truth" was about as self-evident as it gets. Did the filmmakers make every effort to accurately represent events, opinions and so forth?


"Exploration of truth" is actually an extremely vague phrase. And while every documentary deals with reality, "exploration of truth" is a descriptor more appropriate for the focus of work like Errol Morris' and that of others like him. Senna is concerned with telling a story. The filmmakers are gonna tinker around with the actual truth a bit. That's a given. They will simplify things for the sake of brevity or their theme or what have you. And I'm still unsure of what they've supposedly done untruthfully, since I'm not familiar with F1 racing, but unless Senna was actually some baby rapist who was terrible at racing, I don't really care. I'm not looking to this movie to teach me about the sport, since that's not what it's setting out to do.

 

Whilst I don't expect documentaries to synthesise down to the last atom prior events I do think truth is important and since the humble documentary remains divisible from fiction as a genre I guess others think so, too.

 

Dude, why are you getting so huffy?

post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by VTRan View Post


Well, it seemed as though you were that dissatisfied with 'Senna' because it wasn't a perfect "exploration of truth"....?  perhaps your expectations were set too high?

 

Seeing as the film was named 'Senna', I knew before I even watched it that Ayrton was going to be the focus of the film and by extension, biased toward him....I didn't really expect otherwise.

 

With documentaries like this one, especially these days, I usually expect a somewhat simplified version of the subject(s) "story"....IMO, you will need a good deal more than 90-120 minutes to flesh out all the minutia of a person's life. 

 

If I had made the film, I think it would have been interesting and possibly added more 'weight' to the film to delve into Prost's background and history in the sport as a juxtaposition to Senna's life...but that's me. 

 

'Salesman' sounds interesting but I have to admit that I would end up watching it through my own biased eyes as I find people that use religion to take advantage of others, quite offensive....that being said, I'm going to add it to my Netflix queue. (I see that it's part of the Criterion collection....!!) 


Have I missed some hidden ventriloquism rule since I've been away? 

 

I haven't "demanded" anything yet others tell me I have. 

I never mentioned the word(s) "bias", nor "perfect truth" and yet both are mysteriously ascribed to me. 

 

 

I said "As an exploration of truth I think it is questionable". Which means the film's version of events and the truth are sufficiently divergent for me to draw them into question. Hence the assessment of "questionable" and not "I hated it" (or even disliked it). 
 
Oddly enough, I too knew a film entitled "Senna" would more than likely be about Senna. Pro-Senna, too.
 
As for "Salesman" - if you think the same at the end of the movie you really had no business watching it in the first place. 
 

 

post #26 of 31


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteboy Jones View Post

 


"Exploration of truth" is actually an extremely vague phrase. 

 

Oh for fuck's sake. I've lost the will to live. 

 

Time to switch channels.

 

 

 

post #27 of 31

Oh my god, VTRan, we drove him to suicide. How awful. We were just too stupid.

post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteboy Jones View Post

Oh my god, VTRan, we drove him to suicide. How awful. We were just too stupid.

 

eek.gif  wink.gif


I'm starting to think Geoff is still sore over the 1989 Suzuka race

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Japanese_Grand_Prix

post #29 of 31

Watched this last night. Although I am a fan of racing (mostly through the Gran Turismo series), I was somehow completely ignorant of Senna. The ending was very unexpected. Watching the racecar footage, I recognized the wreck immediately as a mechanical failure, but when Dr. Sid started talking about how the moment the spirit left the body, I audibly uttered "holy shit, he died?!" 

I don't think the film was unfair to the rivalry between Prost and Senna. Racecar driver is an inherently dramatic thing, and it seems reasonable to me that people, real-life people, would fall into these sort of archetypal dramatic personae. Prost ended up humanized by the end, but his immediate protest of Senna's comeback victory was obviously a dick move (what I found amusing about it is, the drive through the emergency exit route, with all the fucking walls and shit, looked way more difficult than the chicane, like some sort of horrific F-Zero punishment zone).

I also liked the FIA boss. He too appeared to be a monstrous asshole, but he had maybe my favorite line: "my decision is always best! what, you do not know my decision yet! The drivers will vote, democratically!" 

It was also a trip recognizing these racetracks, without ever having actually seen them in real life, from Gran Turismo. I wish there was better access to F1 here in the States, my appreciation for it is really amateur. But I do know one thing for certain, Senna is a hell of a story.

post #30 of 31

speaking of vintage F1, this seems as good a place as any for this info....

 

Quote:

Ron Howard’s F1 Film “Rush” Will Make The ’70s Look Sexy

 

James Hunt was a sex-crazed playboy. Niki Lauda was nearly consumed in flames. They both raced in one of the most thrilling, dangerous eras in Formula One. Here is a look inside Rush, Ron Howard's upcoming film about their rivalry and motor racing in the ‘70s.

Much as people like to remember the 1970s as the decade that taste forgot, Rush looks like a damn sexy film, judging by the many pictures Ron Howard has been tweeting of retro grid girls pacing around vintage F1 cars.

The story follows Austrian driver Niki Lauda, whose crash at the Nürburgring in 1976 nearly burnt him to death. Just six weeks and two races later, he was back on the track challenging for the world champion against his rival James Hunt. Daniel Brühl, from Inglourious Basterds and Goodbye, Lenin, will play him.

Hunt makes a perfect addition to the story, as he was pretty much the most drugged-out sex fiend to ever grace a race track, let alone win a Formula One world championship. He had a record of sleeping with 33 airline stewardesses in 14 days. Chris Hemsworth (the guy who plays Thor) will play him.

<cont.>

buncha pics at the link

post #31 of 31
Quote:

Originally Posted by Geoff Foster View Post

 

Oh for fuck's sake. I've lost the will to live. 

 

Time to switch channels.



Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ...

 

You guys creeped Geoff all the way outta here.

 

This was in my top two films of 2011 but even I could see what Geoff was getting at. And I'm pretty stupid.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Reader Reviews
CHUD.com Community › Forums › THE CHEWERS › Reader Reviews › Senna (2010)