This movie revolves around the life of Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna for whom life was very short sadly. The driver passed away aged 34 after a crash during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. The producer James Gay-Rees and the writer Manish Pandey are admirers of their subject and Formula One.
They created an exciting and stimulating documentary. The film’s director Asif Kapadia had little previous knowledge of and interest in motor sports. His two previous films, The Warrior and Far North did show that he had a fascination with legend, tragedy and mystical experience.
The film was brilliantly edited and is based on hundreds of newsreel hours of footage. Much of the footage is unseen footage from Formula One’s archives. There are no re-enactments or any talking heads looking back over the career. There are however newly recorded voice contributions by Journalists and professionals whom are included during footage from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. We learn about Senna’s fascination with speed as well as his first trip to Europe to take part in go-karting. Journalist Richard Williams tells us that we was brought up in affluent circumstances which is not the same for the majority of people from his homeland of Brazil.
Senna’s family supported him throughout his career and footage of them at his races as a youngster are seen. The stages of his progression to Formula 1 are however ignored and the film starts with him at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix which is the circuit most closely associated with his career.
Over the next ten years, the film shows the rise of the handsome, charismatic and articulate man as he moves from team to team in the dangerous Sport. He gives Formula One a jump start and eventually becomes a national icon in Brazil.