Last month it was announced that the Senna movie was going to be shown here in Brazil, more precisely, in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. At the time I was totally upset that it wasn’t coming to my city, and I was thinking “how on earth they are not going to bring this movie to the fourth largest city in Brazil?!”
Well, it did come two weeks later, and today I went to the cinema to watch it (to hell with the university exams…!), and also took the opportunity to bring my girlfriend along – she doesn’t care about F1 and I have been trying, without success, to get her to watch it for the past two years, so I figured that presenting the sport to her via a movie would be the best option, even more so when the movie is about one of its legends.
Naturally the room was pretty empty, with only seven people in it including my girlfriend and myself, but I think it was okay-ish for an early-afternoon, rainy Thursday. I’m surprised we were not alone there.
As Robert York pointed out in his guest article last month, the movie does not cover Senna’s life between karting and F1, but we all know and understand why, although I was a bit disappointed that they did not mention ‘a certain race’ at all (I don’t to talk about what the movie covers directly, as I understand it won’t be realeased in Europe for a while), which most consider to be his best ever.
The movie has some impressive footage (well, any F1 footage would look great on a cinema screen!), and good comentary with lots of opinions from dozens of people who were close to Ayrton, mostly from Viviane Senna, Reginaldo Leme, Ron Dennis and Prost, even though Prost participations are mostly recorded interviews from the era. I was also impressed with the 1991 Brazilian GP part, because I didn’t expect them to put the whole of what Ayrton said over the radio when he won that race, because, let’s say, a part of it would be normally censored. However it is really nice to hear him screaming (in portuguese) something like “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!! I DON’T BELIEVE IT!!! AAAAAAAAAH!!!! HOLY ****!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” XD
Taking someone who doesn’t know about F1 with me was a good idea, because I could get opinions on how people like Prost and Balestre were portrayed. I didn’t say a thing to my girlfriend during the movie, I did just let her watch and make up her conclusions, specially after the footages of driver meetings and the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix. Considering her response, it seemed that Prost was perhaps too “villianized” in the movie.
But of course it doesn’t make the movie bad at all. The San Marino GP part is filled with tension, and watching how sick that weekend was, watching those events unfolding before your eyes… it is an intense feeling. I told my girlfriend beforehand that the movie was probably going to show Rubens’ crash and Ratzenberger’s death before Senna’s, and she got a bit nervous and anxious. The footage of the crashes are really impressive – there’s no new angle of Rubens accident, but the quality is a million times better than anything you can find in YouTube nowadays (also it was quite interesting to see, when Rubens’ car was upside down, that the Jordan’s exhaust system was blowing directly onto the diffuser!), and there was something that seemed like an amateur footage of Ratzenberger’s crash. There not much you can see in it because the quality is really poor, but quite amazing nonetheless. As always, it was quite disgusting to see Roland’s head hanging like that before the car stops.
Senna’s crash is of course the most documentaded, and there is an onboard view of his last lap up until he goes into the gravel trap at Tamburello. The testimonals of Brazilian fans can be something quite emotional, and when you think that Brazil was a messed up country by the time, with so much poverty and misery, when you think that Ayrton was an inspiring force for much, when you realize how mcuh he was important for this country and how he would be missed, you can almost she a tear. One of those testimonials is still stuck on my head (I’m not sure if I can write it here… can I, Keith?).
All in all, it was a great movie, certainly the best I’ve seen this year (well, I’m biased!), and watching the intriguing personalities of the drivers and the simple beauty of those cars on the big screen, well, that’s priceless!