‘Senna’ has been circulating around American theaters and streaming on demand since it’s opening last August, and moviegoers have followed the film’s rise in popularity and universal appeal with hundreds of glowing reviews from around the world. Since it’s award-winning premiere at Sundance, F1 fans and non-F1 fans alike have taken to the film’s narrative approach and dramatic documentary footage. To see ‘Senna’ is to watch one of racing’s brightest stars rise with humility and determination in the competitive world of F1 while learning what kind of hero Ayrton Senna became to his beloved people of Brazil.
Putting this two-time BAFTA winning documentary together was director Asif Kapadia, a native of Great Britain, who on a trip to California visited our local F1 community in San Francisco to attend the film’s opening at a packed theater. We spoke over dinner before he took questions from a riveted audience later that evening and he mentioned several times in our conversation the idea that this film had what he called ‘Senna moments’ – times throughout the project where things just came together through the kindness or unexpected help of others.
I felt our meeting last August was one such moment, having contacted Asif through Facebook and later via email to encourage him to visit San Francisco. I held out hope that he might make it to meet the hundreds of F1 fans I watch racing with each Sunday, and he did, staying until well after 1am on a Thursday night to meet with our group. Asif went on to appear at five more screenings in the Bay Area, all full, at each one staying afterwards to sign posters, answer questions, and talk about the film. Thank you, Asif, for taking the time away from your family and friends to make watching your film so memorable.
If you’ve haven’t seen the film, or even if you have, I strongly encourage you to support a fine film and film maker, one whose interest in story and subject guides you through the world of international racing and humanity at its extremes. Many in our audience felt that with so much going on in the movie, ‘Senna’ truly stands up to a second viewing. The film’s US release on Blu Ray is July 10, and to capture a few highlights from Senna’s life and career, I’ve asked Paul-Henri Cahier for permission to share his art around one of his favorite subjects. Clickable images will open up each year’s worth of Senna in Formula 1, please enjoy: