Monday, April 9, 2012


I don’t like race car driving. I especially dislike those single-seater Formula 1 races. All those turns, the endless roar of engines, and the completely insane speeds. Not to mention that you can’t see the competitor’s face.  That is a deal-breaker for me. I am willing to concede that to the initiated there must be something electrifying to this sport if only because over 520 million people watched the 2010 championship. Never-the-less, I don’t care for the sport. 

(SPOILER ALERT, but only if you are as clueless as I was about Formula 1 racing!) 

Despite my indifference to Formula 1 racing, at the conclusion of the documentary film Senna, I cried along with the tens of thousands of Brazilians who lined the roads of Sao Paulo as the hearse carrying Ayrton Senna’s body made its way to the church.  

Senna is a very good film. You don’t have to have any interest in racing to fall in love with Ayrton Senna. I think that a really well-structured film with a dynamic character can always rise above the most tedious subject matter and deliver a human experience that is poignant, authentic and somehow very reassuring. In such a film there is usually a moment in which we confront the absolute essence of a stranger and in that moment feel that we too have been exposed.  

Senna is the story of a little boy who loves go-kart racing and grows up to become one of the world’s best Formula 1 drivers.  He was also smart, humble, keenly competitive and a man of great faith. He was charismatic in the way that only Brazilians know how to be. He shared his infectious joy widely in a generous and authentic way, waving the Brazilian flag after each win at a time when most Brazilians had little reason for joy.  He won the hearts of all Brazilians, rich and poor, but it was underprivileged children he cared about most, giving millions to help them. The Instituto Ayrton Senna still aids Brazilian children and adolescents through public education programs.  Here is the official trailer.
If you are following on email, please use this link to view the official trailer.Senna
Ayrton Senna won the world championship three times before his death in 1994 at the San Marino Grand Prix in Italy. He remains a legend among his millions of fans and I now count myself as one.

The Charleston International Film Festival opens this week and features several exciting documentaries. I have one prediction. "Hooping" otherwise known as Hula Hooping will be the next big thing all over again.
Here is the trailer for The Hooping Life. If you are reading this on email, here is the link Hooping Life

Support your local film festivals. It's a great way to see some terrific indie films and meet the directors and producers and other film enthusiasts. And if they are anything like the CIFF, the After Parties are great fun. 

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