Senna (film)

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Senna
Senna.jpg
Directed by Asif Kapadia
Produced by Tim Bevan
Eric Fellner
James Gay-Rees
Written by Manish Pandey
Starring Ayrton Senna
Alain Prost
Frank Williams
Ron Dennis
Music by Antonio Pinto
Cinematography Jake Polonsky
Edited by Chris King
Gregers Sall
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • 7 October 2010 (2010-10-07) (Suzuka, Mie)
  • 25 May 2011 (2011-05-25) (France)
  • 3 June 2011 (2011-06-03) (United Kingdom: limited)
Running time 106 minutes
Country United Kingdom
France
Language English
Portuguese
French
Japanese
Box office $11,856,854[1]

Senna is a British 2010 documentary film that depicts the life and death of Brazilian motor-racing champion, Ayrton Senna, directed by Asif Kapadia.[2] The film was produced by StudioCanal, Working Title Films and Midfield Films, and was distributed by the parent company of the latter two production companies, Universal Pictures.

The film's narrative focuses on Senna's racing career in Formula One, from his debut in the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix to his death in an accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, with particular emphasis on his rivalry with fellow driver Alain Prost. It relies primarily on archive racetrack footage and home video clips provided by the Senna family, rather than retrospective video interviews, and has no formal commentary.

Story[edit]

The film begins with Senna's arrival into Formula One during the 1984 season, briefly covering his time at Toleman and Lotus before concentrating on his time with the British team McLaren – the association that brought his rise to global fame – and becoming a World Champion. The drama of this period of his career centers on his rivalry with his team mate Alain Prost, and his political struggles with the then head of FISA Jean-Marie Balestre, climaxing during the 1989 and 1990 seasons, when Senna and Prost were involved in controversial clashes which decided the drivers' world championship title, in 1989 for Prost and in 1990 for Senna.

The film portrays the increasingly complex dynamics and tumult that characterized Senna's years as world champion, his battle to improve his sport's safety, and his reactions as he witnesses accidents and eventually death of Austrian fellow-driver Roland Ratzenberger the day before his own. We see and hear through Senna's point of view that innovative computerization led in these years to the technological domination of the Williams cars, with Prost joining Williams and, in a fallout with Senna, refusing to be on a team with Senna any more. The documentary reaches its finale as Prost retires and Senna takes up a champion driver spot with Williams, the Grove-based team in 1994, just as Formula One rules change, disallowing computerization, and the Williams' cars undergo rapid reconfiguration that proves fatal. In the culminating weekend of his life, at the that year's San Marino Grand Prix, footage shows Senna under extreme stress, troubled as safety conditions reveal their weaknesses in one track accident after another over three consecutive days. Rubens Barrichello is injured in a crash during Friday qualifying, Ratzenberger is killed in an accident during final qualifying on April 30, and at the start of the race JJ Lehto stalls and is hit at high speed by Pedro Lamy. The safety car is brought out, and when racing resumes on lap 7, Senna crashes fatally. The film concludes with the Senna family and his close friends from Formula One mourning his loss at his funeral.

Release[edit]

A special screening of Senna was held on 7 October 2010 at the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix, at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan.[3] The official world première was held at the Cinemark Theatre in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 3, 2010.[4] It was released in Brazil on 12 November 2010 and the UK on 3 June 2011.

Home media[edit]

In Japan and Brazil, the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray discs on 21 and 24 March 2011, respectively. On 11 October it was released onto home media in the UK. The film is currently available on Netflix Instant, and was released on 6 March 2012 in the United States.

Versions[edit]

Two versions of the film were released, one in cinemas, DVD, Netflix, iTunes and Blu-ray disc and another only released in the UK in double-layered Blu-ray disc, extending the length of the film with more interviews and insider information.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Senna received critical acclaim from critics. The film has a 92% "certified fresh" rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 116 reviews, with the consensus: "Even for filmgoers who aren't racing fans, Senna offers heart-pounding thrills -- and heartbreaking emotion."[5] Dan Jolin of Empire Magazine gave the film 4 stars out of 5 and stated that it is "ambitiously constructed, deeply compelling, thrilling and in no way only for those who like watching cars drive in circles".[6] Alex Zane from The Sun gave the film 4 out of 5 and wrote that Senna is "fascinating and profoundly moving".[7] Steve Rose, writing in The Guardian, also gave the film a 4 out of 5, and praised the fact that "with so much recorded footage of Formula One available, it has been possible to fashion Senna's story as a live action drama rather than a posthumous documentary. We're not so much hearing what happened in the past as seeing it happen before our eyes."[8][9]

Alain Prost was highly critical of the film and its depiction of his relationship with Senna as he felt it did not adequately explore the way their relationship changed from rivals to friends in the final months of Senna's life.[10]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
Sundance Film Festival[11] World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary Won
Los Angeles Film Festival[12] Audience Award for Best International Feature Won
Melbourne International Film Festival[13] People's Choice Awards for Best Documentary Won
Adelaide Film Festival.[14][15] Audience Award for Best Documentary Won
BAFTA Outstanding British Film Nominated
Best Documentary Won
Best Editing Gregers Sall, Chris King Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Senna (2010)". The Numbers. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Racing Doc Senna Takes Banksy Indie Route: Opens Strong, Tries to Reel in Women". Indiewire.com. 
  3. ^ "Senna screened at Japanese Grand Prix". Working Title Films. 2010-10-14. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  4. ^ "Senna Premiere São Paulo Brazil". Working Title Films. 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  5. ^ "Senna". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-06-05. 
  6. ^ "Senna". empireonline.com. Empire Magazine. Retrieved 2011-06-05. 
  7. ^ Zane, Alex. "Ayrton story has all the right moves". thesun.co.uk (London). Retrieved 2011-06-05. 
  8. ^ Rose, Steve (2011-06-03). "Senna - review". guardian.co.uk (London: The Guardian). Retrieved 2011-06-05. 
  9. ^ Calkin, Jessamy (2011-05-20). "Senna: The Driver Who Lit Up Formula One". London: The Telegraph. 
  10. ^ Collantine, Keith (12 July 2012). "Prost explains his objections to Senna film". F1 Fanatic (Keith Collantine). Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Award Screening Schedule". sundance.org. Sundance Institute. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  12. ^ "2011 Winners". Lafilmfest.com. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  13. ^ "People's Choice Award - Docos". miff.com.au. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  14. ^ Buckeridge, Julian. "Audience Awards Announced". Atthecinema.net. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  15. ^ "Adelaide Film Festival". Adelaide Film Festival. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 

External links[edit]