Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Tag

Movie review: Senna

As an F1 fanatic, I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Senna in UK cinemas. But what if you’re not an Formula 1 fan? Can an almost two hour-long documentary about a guy driving around in fast cars keep you entertained? The answer is yes.

Senna is a fast flowing tale of man who truly lived fast and died young, shot in an unorthodox way compared to the standard, dry story telling pattern most documentaries follow.

The fiercest rivalry in F1, Ayrton Senna versus Alan Prost, features prominently in "Senna"

Director Asif Kapadia said: “For me, film is a very visual medium. I’m not the sort of person who will make a film that is really dialogue heavy”. Kapadia’s cinematic views present themselves on screen with the rejection of talking head and an objective voice over.

Instead, Kapadia relied on nearly 15.000 hours of period footage and audio-only interviews with first-hand observers such as Senna’s family, his rivals and team bosses.

For almost two hours, the screen is filled with sometimes unseen, always entertaining, footage of F1 cars battling through the streets of Monaco, spectacular crashes and the ongoing clash between the flamboyant and controversial Brazilian Ayrton Senna and his archrival, the calm and cool Frenchman Alain “Le Professeur” Prost.

Kapadia said: “Everything you see is real, and I didn’t shoot a frame of it. I didn’t need to. My team and I used the actual footage to create a three act-story of the life Ayrton Senna.”

This is where Senna shows its strength. The spectacular footage, proof that action can be delivered without special effects, combined with the Brazilian’s ‘Hollywoodesque’ life story, makes this documentary the most entertaining and realistic racing movie in decades.

In the eighties and nineties both Sylvester Stallone (Driven) and Tom Cruise (Days of Thunder) tried to bring NASCAR and the Indy 500 to the masses. Both movies lacked realism with over the top special effects and cliché scripting. Also, the US-centred racing leagues drove away European visitors from the cinema.

Arguably, the last good racing films popular on both sides of the Atlantic, were made in the sixties and seventies with John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix and Steve McQueen’s Le Mans as the two front runners.

Racing fans hail both movies for their exceptional real life racing footage in an era without hundreds of cameras catching the drivers’ every move. Unfortunately both movies suffered from the lack of story line and only race fans were hooked to the productions.

On the brink of super stardom: a young Ayrton Senna and his "JPS" Lotus 97T (1985)

However, Senna strikes the right balance between entertainment and telling an emotional life story. Senna’s life is real, the racing is real, the emotions are real, the crashes a real. And so is death; waiting around every corner on the race track.

In short, Senna is the ultimate (fairy)tale of a racing driver. The Brazilian star, loved and admired by millions and feared by his rivals, lived a life which no Hollywood script writer could come up with, without loosing his or her credibility. This makes Senna a spectacle for both F1 fanatics as well as anyone who likes to see action, drama and emotion in a movie.

Stef Meens


Scots left searching for elusive win over Brazil

In a weekend which saw the Formula 1 circus kick of their 2011 season, Chris Hoy collecting more silverware, Oxford beating Cambridge in the boat race and England proving against Wales they are well on their way for Euro 2012, Scotland’s international friendly against Brazil  was almost forgotten if it had not been for two Brazilians.

The Emirates stadium in London was the stage were Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima (the original Ronaldo) said goodbye to Europe after he announced a few weeks ago to retire from professional football.

However, the young Santos striker Neymar made clear that football fans worldwide needn’t to worry about a lack of talent coming from Brazil. Ashleigh McGuinley reports on the match which saw Neymar take the spotlight.

Scotland 0 – 2 Brazil

A nifty Neymar double gave the South American side a well-deserved friendly win over Scotland at the Emirates Stadium.
The teenage star stole the show and strengthened his thriving reputation as the Samba stars gave the Scots a hard chase from almost the first whistle.

Brazil commanded the first half with terrific footwork and speed across the pitch, but the Scottish side looked set to keep it no score at half time until the 19-year-old striker fired home the opening goal just minutes before half time.

The Santos striker doubled the Brazilian side’s advantage in the 77th minute from the penalty spot after being fouled by Charlie Adam.

Having won their last two matches 3-0, confidence had been growing in the Scotland camp but the huge gulf in class between the two sides inevitably left Scotland still searching for their elusive first win over the Samba Stars.

There was a lively atmosphere surrounding the grounds before kick-off which was helped by the appearance of Brazilian footballing legend, Ronaldo as guest of honour for the day.

It seemed as though Scotland had got off to a good start when captain for the day, Kenny Miller had an early opportunity to make an impression after being fouled by Brazilian defender, Lucio, a few yards outside the box but Charlie Adam’s free-kick cannoned off the defensive wall.

Brazil’s first big chance came in the 15th minute with a promising back-post cross from Elano, but Chelsea midfielder, Ramires headed it high over the top.

As the young Brazilian side started to warm up, glimpses of their trademark fluidity and footballing style started to show when a pass from Elano put Jadson through before the Scotland defence managed to scramble the ball to safety.

Minutes later the Brazilians were back for more but Leandro Damiao’s header from Elano’s corner skimmed across the top of the crossbar.

The Scotland side luckily managed to escape a penalty call after a cross from Lucas Leiva looked to be cleared by perhaps the hand of Gary Caldwell.

Scotland looked to have picked themselves back up in the 35th minute when a strong free-kick from Adam was met by a header from Steven Whittaker, which to the Tartan Army’s disappointment flew past the far post.

The famous yellow shirts ended Scotland’s resistance just minutes from the break when a pass from Andre Santos was taken by Neymar inside the Scotland box and the talented 19-year-old skilfully placed his shot causally past McGregor and into the far corner of the net.

A carless start to the second half by Scotland allowed Neymar to play as well as he had ended the first half when just two minutes in, a shot on the run caught the top of the bar after Adam had given the ball away.

A dangerous goal-kick by McGregor left James McArthur in trouble when Ramires stole the ball and tried to set up an open goal for Neymar.

The Rangers’ goaly was left with no option but to come off his line and dive to take the ball away from Neymar before blocking Leandro’s close follow-up shot.

Scotland looked to be in trouble yet again in the 52nd minute, but the pass over from Brazilian full-back, Dani Alves was blasted over from inside the box.

Cheers from the Scotland fan’s filled the stadium in the 63rd minute when Scotland won their first corner of the game but a sloppy effort by Adam was easily cleared by the dominating Brazilian side.

Shortly after, fresh legs were introduced for Scotland in the form of Bannan and Commons who came on for McArthur and Whittaker in the hope of introducing new impetus.

However, Scotland’s chances of making a come-back slipped even further away when a foul on Neymar by Adam inside the box saw referee Howard Webb point to the spot and the teenage striker picked himself up to fire home the penalty in the last fifteen minutes.

As the match drew to a close, Craig Mackail-Smith was given his Scotland debut as he was brought on in replace of Kenny Miller.

Scotland kept fighting until the end, but in the final two minutes a free-kick by Commons’ was quickly brought to safety by Brazilian goaly, Julio Cesar confirming that Scotland’s chances of consolation were over.

In the final seconds of injury time, Brazil tried their luck one last time but the Samba substitute, Jonas blasted his shot over.

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