Friday, 7 March 2014

Chop's Film Fiesta - group 1

One of my New Year's resolutions was to watch more films. Partly to catch up with a lot of amazing cinema I've not had time to see over the last few years but also to try and get the used capacity on my TiVo down to a manageable level. I thought I could encourage this by getting people to vote for which film I watch.

Group one consisted of Argo, Django Unchained, Killing Them Softly & Senna and I asked for votes via Twitter & Facebook with the following results;

1st - Senna (6 votes)
2nd - Django Unchained (4 votes)
3rd - Argo (3 votes)
4th - Killing Them Softly (1 vote)

So, last Friday I sat down to watch Senna. A documentary depicting the life and death of legendary Brazilian motor-racing Champion, Ayrton Senna. Focused on Senna's Formula One career, from his debut in the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix to his death at San Marino in 1994. The film uses archive footage and home video clips to show events as they happened. There is no formal narration as the story is told through original commentary & interviews interspersed with a few contemporary interviews. It's a spellbinding film if ultimately tragic. I was probably at the peak of my interest in F1 back then and remembered seeing a lot of these events first time around. It was thrilling to re-watch Ayrton's dramatic rise up the rankings; his remarkable 2nd place finish at Monaco in 1984, his first GP wins in the John Player Special sponsored Lotus team, and first World Championship having moved to McLaren in 1988.

Much of the film examines the rivalry between Ayrton Senna & Alain Prost. Two very different drivers, Senna seemingly prepared to push the car to its absolute limits, Prost a more calculated but conservative driver. I was a bit of a Prost fan, having first got into F1 when he was driving for Renault. Renault had become my team partly because I liked their bright yellow livery and partly because my Dad had driven a series of Renault 16's. Hardly the most graceful of cars, the Renault 16 sliced through the air exactly the same way that bricks don't, but I had a soft spot for them having grown up travelling round the country in Dad's succession of purchases. I think the way Senna was deprived of the 1989 WDC was the point I finally switched allegiances. He was a truly remarkable driver and made the sport more exciting than it had ever been before.

The conclusion is a chilling piece of cinema. Knowing what's about to happen makes it all the more powerful. A shocking and tragic loss that changed the sport dramatically. Despite the sad ending Senna is a wonderful film, celebrating the life of a man who transcended his sport and who left behind a lasting legacy that includes The Ayrton Senna Institute, a charity helping to create opportunities for children in Brazil.

I'm not entirely sure when my next film session will be but blog readers are welcome to vote on my next block of movies (either comment below or see me in the pub).

A: Tyrannosaur
B: Brassed Off
C: The Inbetweeners Movie
D: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


No comments: