Saint Ayrton

If you’re a sports champion , it’s not enough to win game after game, race after race or title after title.

You must also be handsome, charming,sexy, exotic, fight back from adversity and if you wouldn’t mind die young so your memory is not sullied by the banality of middle-age.

That is all us spectators want. Just your life.

Ayrton Senna obliged us by doing everything anyone could ask of a sporting hero. Consequently he’s the subject of the unsurprisngly named ‘Senna’, a gripping documentary which uses nothing but found footage to piece together the life of Formula One’s most gifted star

The film charts the rise of Senna from Go-Kart world champion to his demise on the track at Imola at just 34.

Maybe he kicked dogs or taunted the homeless off camera but as far as this footage is concerned he  was a latter day driving saint, a depiction helped by his own strong religious belief.

Of course every hero needs a villian and this is provided in the form of bent-nosed, gallic troll Alain Prost, who’s Machiavellian, intensely political nature is exposed during the film.

It’s this meeting of opposites that gives the film a narrative arc that ends in the tragic death of Senna, due to the mechanical failure of his malfunctioning Williams car.

The scenes of weeping crowds meeting his coffin in Sao Paolo make us realize the Senna was more than just sports star, he was a national hero who emboided the spirit of Brazil in both the way he lived and the way he drove.

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