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My Sydney Film Festival 2011. 15 seen. Senna takes the checkered flag.

It would be an understatement to say I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Sydney Film Festival. A wonderful selection of films, a real sense of community through the #sydfilmfest Twitter hashtag [I’m still following it on TweetDeck!], and an increased love of film that has got me thinking in a lot of random tangents.

I saw 15, and really, I had a pretty darn good strikerate! I honestly don’t know how some nutters out there get through 30+, because I felt like I needed another weekend after weekends were lined with 3 films a day, leaving me emotionally drained and physically tired. For someone requiring constant distraction, it was a fine test of concentration.

For all the filmmaking mastery of Malick’s The Tree of Life, the quiet, simple—almost antithesis in some regards—genius of Le Quattro Volte, the perfect drama of A Separation and the psychological powerhouse that was Take Shelter, I found myself unexpectedly, but wholeheartedly gravitating towards the beautifully put together story of Ayrton Senna.

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Senna [spoilers, duh]

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Senna. Thrilling. Tragic. The most emotionally resounding story of the year.

I tried to recollect what I knew about Ayrton Senna the morning I watched the film, and all that came to mind were two things; he raced in Formula 1, and more faintly than that, he died while racing.

I now know that he was a family man, a man of Brasil, not one bit interested in the politics that ruined racing, unbelievably determined, and most importantly, a man of God. I say most importantly a man of God in a selfish way, as a viewer of this film, because hearing Senna talk repeatedly about what God had given him broke my heart little by little, knowing what would eventually happen. 

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