The documentary film Senna, which won the World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is set for release in the United States this August, with debuts in New York and Los Angeles scheduled for August 12, and a more general release to follow.
First shown in Japan last October, this film by director Asif Kapadia from a script by Manish Pandey is, of course, about the life and death of Brazilian Formula One star Ayrton Senna, and apart from demonstrating the abilities that made him a icon for millions, eloquently captures the overwhelming self confidence that served him so well in his quest to be World Champion.
Home-movie footage of his early years racing karts in his native Brazil helps the film examine his life in depth and detail, and is brilliantly supplemented with much extensive and heretofore rarely seen footage from the closely guarded video vaults of Formula One itself. All this ensures the film is unmatched as a visual treat, and while viewers with little or no knowledge of Formula One will be easily able to appreciate the story being told, those with knowledge of the sport will find their enjoyment directly proportional to the level of that knowledge.
While some bias toward its subject is evident, the film does paint an intriguing portrait of a figure not without conflict, and this is discussed by those who worked with and around him, and who raced against him during his time in F1. While a further dissection of the film is certainly possible, it is perhaps best left to the individual to determine his or her own thoughts on the subject. So check local listings in those two cities or wait for the broader release that’s sure to follow, but be sure to see this landmark film.