Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: Senna (+ Oscar Eligible?)

Dir. Asif Kapadia
Year: 2011
Aus Rating: M15+
Running Time: 106mins

It can be a funny business watching films as often as someone like myself. Films based on subjects that I find fascinating can routinely be rote and poorly made, whereas sometimes a film can come along that puts an illuminating light on a topic that I have zero interest in whatsoever. Asif Kapadia’s documentary Senna is one of those cases, as he allows his documentary gaze to fall upon the sport of motor-racing in this thrilling exploration into the life of a man who aimed to do as much for those less fortunate as he than he did for the sport.

Read the rest at Trespass Magazine

Along with How to Die in Oregon and Jiro Dreams of Sushi, MIFF 2011 threw up three documentaries that I think deserve Oscar consideration. Unfortunately for Kapadia's rather fascinating documentary, Senna will most surely be deemed ineligible ala Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man. I remember the furor that erupted amongst Oscar-watching circles when Grizzly was ruled out due to an Academy rule that makes films made up entirely of previously existing footage ineligible. Now, the Academy seem to change their eligibility rules every year so, for all I know, they nixed this silly rule plus Kapadia himself seems to have implied that the film is eligible as recently as late July, so I will follow with great interest. Just don't be surprised if it doesn't make the cut for the reasons above.

It would be a particular shame, too, since the film has had bonza box office in the UK and it's quite a high profile entry in the documentary field that too often fails to catch on with audiences. It'd be a definite shame if Senna was ousted and something as dull as - here's that name again - Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams makes it in instead.

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