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A Star Named Ayrton Senna (DVD)

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Genre: Sports - Motorsport

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      10.08.2001 03:48
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      My last opinion was on ‘The Death Of Ayrton Senna’ - a book by Richard Williams. I didn’t like that book very much at all. Jill Murphy called my opinion ‘stroppy’ and I guess it was. So, I’m going to balance that a little by writing about a *good* source of Senna info. Despite being a book lover, I will admit that there are some things that sight and sound get across better - especially unreadable expressions on peoples faces. Richard Williams fell down by trying to interpret what a dead person, who had said of himself ‘Very few people really know me’ was thinking. At least in a video, you don’t have to rely on another persons interpretation, you can see and decide for yourself. Any way, this isn’t meant to be a comparison. On to the video. A Star Named Ayrton Senna is a video that was compiled after Ayrtons death. It covers his whole life in film and interviews, and is an absolute joy to watch. Almost everyone who was close to him appears in this, from his sister, Vivianne, to Frank Williams, Jean Alesi, Prost (I said *was* close!) and even some of his Brazilian friends. There’s also plenty of footage of the man himself. I learned more from this video than from any of the books I’ve read and web sites I’ve seen on the subject. Vivianne talks about Senna’s childhood and early racing days, his personal trainer talks about his determination on the running track, and mechanics and team leaders from his early days explain what it was like to work with a rising star. For me, it was surprising to see footage of Senna and Prost together early in the first year as team mates, when times were happy between them. I wasn’t into racing in the 80s, so I never saw them ‘happy together’ (sounds like a marriage doesn’t it!) this video shows their developing relationship very well. There’s plenty of footage
      of Senna - a good, clear lap of Donnington 93 - better than many I’ve seen on compilation videos. The Senna / Prost collisions, and Senna’s first win at his home Grand Prix. His ‘Racing is in my blood’ speech is shown too. Another especially interesting part is his thoughts on his lost win at Suzuka 89 - Prost and Senna collided - Prost was out of the race but Senna kept going, although he had to receive a push start. He finished the race in the lead, thought he’d won, but was prevented from going on to the podium by Ballestre, the president of the FIA. Senna was disqualified, Prost was World Champion. When Senna speaks of it you can see, hear, and feel the bitterness in him. A major part of this video is taken up with Senna’s leisure life - you get to see his island in Angra Dos Reis - where Senna would spend time on with his family. He gives viewers a tour, explaining about the development work going on at the time, he says he was having houses built for the staff of the island so that they could have a good quality of life. Good? I’d have worked there for nothing - it’s a beautiful place! Vivianne Senna and Julian Jakobi talk about the Ayrton Senna Foundation, which Vivianne set up shortly after Senna’s death, following a request Senna made just before the start of the 1994 season. Senninha - the cartoon character ‘Young Senna’ makes a brief appearance, but there isn’t much detail about him. The video is organised in roughly chronological order, so when Frank Williams starts speaking it’s time to get nervous. He admits that the car for 1994 was ‘difficult’. Ahem. The first two races are skipped over, then you are confronted with the mangled wreck of Ratzenbergers car. A shocked looking Senna, the whole F1 world awoken from its dream of accident free racing. I won’t say 12 accident free years, it’s an insult to
      Elio De Angelis. May 1st isn’t really shown - the video goes ‘artsy’ for a few seconds - showing team bosses crying or shaking their heads, then some special effects and strange music before cutting to Senna’s funeral. This is more a video about life than about death, but this time I won’t complain. It doesn’t claim to be anything else. I didn’t see the funeral when it took place, so it was a shock seeing all those distraught Brazilians. I’ve read about it, but actually *seeing* it - it makes the way England reacted to Princess Dianna’s death look like a bored yawn. There is one thing about this video that surprised me - it isn’t dubbed. When Vivianne and the other Brazilians are talking, it is in Brazilian Portuguese. Alesi speaks in French - there’s even a point where Frank Williams was speaking French! There might be other languages on there too, but I’m not fluent in any others so I wasn’t really listening for them. There are sub titles of course, but for me the Brazilian Portuguese audio was a bonus - I’m trying to learn, and I don’t get to hear native speakers much, so it’s good practice. My knowledge is limited at the moment, but I have noticed that there are some things ‘lost in the translation’. Vivianne in particular is a lot more enthusiastic than she comes over in the text! There's a promotional leaflet from the Ayrton Senna Foundation (IAS) in with the video - it outlines the work that they do and makes interesting reading. You can get this video from Amazon now fairly cheaply - £11.99. I’d recommend it to any motor sport fan. It contains lots of information and is very enjoyable to watch. It may be more expensive than the book that I just wrote an opinion on, but unlike the book, it does exactly what it says on the cover, and is one that I will definitely watch again and a
      gain. It’s well directed, the footage used is well chosen - all 112 minutes of it! It really goes for maximum effect and I suspect it could convert many disinterested viewers into fans of the Yellow Helmet. The only fault I can find is that the copy I purchased had a small rip in the first section of tape. Rather than return it since it wasn’t on an important piece of tape, I just repaired it. Still, if anyone else orders from Amazon, I’d check the tape just in case it’s damaged - it seems to be something that happens with them a lot, and I fear that if I’d watched the video without inspecting it first, the tape would have snapped. That’s probably Amazon’s fault though (bad storage / packing?) and the video itself is brilliant. I’d recommend this to friends and Prost fans alike (joke!)

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