Senna more life than death for movie maker

Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:17pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - The helicopter swoops down, its television camera following the lines of a sunlit track below, as the words 'San Marino GP, Imola' appear on screen.

Twenty years on from the fatal accidents of Formula One great Ayrton Senna and Austrian Roland Ratzenberger at the Italian circuit, the moment in the award-winning documentary 'Senna' still makes the heart beat faster.

What followed on that 1994 weekend, and particularly on May 1 when the Brazilian crashed his Williams, is as familiar to most F1 fans as the waving of a checkered flag.

For screenwriter and executive producer Manish Pandey, who will attend a showing of his 2010 film in Imola this week as part of events marking the anniversary, the focus will be more on marking an extraordinary life than a tragic death.

In an interview with Reuters, he recalled how director Asif Kapadia asked him early on what he wanted to achieve with the film.

"I said 'My big ambition for the film is whether you know what happened to him or don’t know what happened to him, you forget for a while’," Pandey said.

"And that’s where I think the film is very successful. Even if you know, you get so caught up in it you kind of forget. And then when it suddenly says Imola everyone knows and it hits them very hard."

Imola, Pandey said, was not a weekend he particularly wanted to remember and nor was it one to be taken out of context.   Continued...