DOCUMENTARY; 1hr 46min

DIRECTED BY: Asif Kapadia

Wheels on fire: Senna (in 1984)

Before his flameout, race-crash death at age 34 in 1994, three-times World Formula One Champion Ayrton Senna da Silva was a privileged boy with the face of a poet who started out racing go-karts. Asif Kapadia's archival, impressionistic and, finally, heartbreaking documentary tracks the Brazilian’s blossoming stardom and upward trajectory through the big, master-blasting motor leagues. Racing at this elite level is a glamorous, political, chess game on potentially lethal wheels — the cockpit camera footage is gasp-inducing for anyone.


Senna and teammate Alain Prost share an almost offhand composure, beneath which they’re fiercely competitive. Inevitably, they clash. But only on the track, where destinies are made and shattered, does Senna let it rip, and the more triumphant he becomes, the more invincible he seems. In 1991, he wins seven races and collects his third world title. And still he wants more. “Happiness will come when I feel complete,” he says in his measured way, “which definitely I don’t feel today. But I have plenty of time.” 


Sadly, he did not.