Directed by: Asif Kapadia
Written by: Manish Pandey
Starring: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Frank Williams
Aryton Senna will be remembered through history as one of the leading Formula One drivers the world has seen. But while this title may be of small significance to people who couldn’t care less about racing cars and the people in them, the documentary Senna tells a story of passion and drama that will strike a chord with anyone who can appreciate genius in different forms. Even within the seat of a speeding car.
Created purely from archival footage of Senna in sports coverage of F1 championships, interviews and other TV material, Sennapieces together the journey, triumphs and flaws of a champion who knew no limits when it came to fulfilling his desire to win. With a few words from Senna’s family members (particularly his sister), commentators and other fellow motor racers, this award winning documentary is economical in its storytelling, beautifully constructed and effortlessly engaging as the stressful politics of the sport, rivalries and technological advancements in motor racing speak volumes to the personality of young Aryton Senna.
As some of the scenes in the documentary are captured from a camera positioned within Senna’s racing car, Senna balances the pure adrenaline of driving with the Brazilian champion’s own philosophy on his life and career, largely found in his interviews and even home video footage. This isn’t to say that we get a deeply personal and intimate look into Senna’s personal life. In fact, much of the documentary only briefly touches upon his family life and romances, focusing much more heavily on his career and ambitious feats. Having said that, Senna doesn’t feel inadequate in representing the man behind the wheel as the audiences are afforded a certain amount of distance so that we can see the shortcomings of his genius and the overly ambitious qualities of his personality.
This award-winning documentary will move you in a way that isn’t simply reliant on physical action. Regardless of whether you have an interest in F1 racing or not, Senna’s story of genius, rivalry, ambition and success is one that will have an impact on a universal level.