Sunday, August 14, 2011

SENNA Premiere New York City

After much anticipation, SENNA premiered this weekend in New York and Los Angeles with a wider release slated for next week. The screenings included Q&A sessions with writer, Manish Pandey and broadcaster, John Bisignano whose coverage from ESPN in the late 80's and early 90's is featured prominently in the film.

My impressions on the film: I only know Senna and that era of motor racing from what I have read on the internet, in books, and from this film so I cannot have the same perspective as those who actively followed Senna's career at the time.

It is clear that the film borders on hero worship that can only come about when someone has died so tragically and publicly. It is an amazing human drama which is portrayed spectacularly by Asif Kapada. Even from the get go I found the film to be extremely emotional. The whole time you are presented with incredible blood pumping footage and noise quickly followed by tragedy and horror. SPOILERS:

One scene in particular where this occurs is the Donnely incident in Jerez. There is a beautiful, stunning shot of the yellow car accompanied by spine tingling sound then, confusion and a shot of a body on the track next to a disintegrated car. The close up of Senna's helmet from the on board camera in Monaco is another stand out shot for me. The vivid colors and the Monaco skyline flashing in the background produce some of the best pictures I have ever seen in a cinema.

The cliche "emotional roller coaster" certainly applies to this movie. You see all of the joy and adversity that Senna faced all while knowing what is to come. You are aware throughout the movie that it will culminate in the violent death of a revered human being.

The french are certainly portrayed as the villains, but at the same time Ayrton's own arrogance and ego in some of his interviews is not completely ignored.

I can only say that I loved this movie. I recognize that it left out a lot of the relationship and reconciliation between Prost and Senna, but this is a story about a 'hero' which inevitably takes on a different perspective than a traditional documentary.

The after party was a mix of fans coming out of the theater, people associated with the film, and Formula 1 insiders some of whom had known Ayrton Senna personally from the Formula 1 circuit. It was a great night to talk about the amazing film and the life of Ayrton Senna.

John Bisignano was kind enough to accept a shirt from me and even wore it at the party. We had a great conversation about his time covering Formula 1 for ESPN and the origins of his career.

The film's promoters put on a truly special event on Saturday to correspond with the premier. 3 Formula 1 cars from 60's and 70's on display on the streets of New York.

James Hunt's 1976 McLaren M23

1979 Tyrell 009

baby on board

Alex Roy's cross country record setting M5

Bikes and Basketball

quick stop at the Meat Ball Shop, one of the birthplaces of Strassenverison

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