By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com July 1, 2011 at 9:17AM
There's certainly something in the water about motorsports at the moment. "Cars 2" sits atop the box office, while Michael Mann, Ron Howard and Jeremy Renner are all working on dramas set around car racing to one degree on another. And in the U.K., Formula 1 documentary "Senna" has become a genuine phenomenon, becoming the third largest-grossing documentary in history, behind only "March of the Penguins" and "Fahrenheit 9/11," after only four weeks in release, aided by the marketing muscle of Universal and Working Title.
Considering America's never embraced Formula 1 in the way that the rest of the world has, and that the tiny Producer's Distribution Agency are putting the film out in the States, the film's unlikely to find similar monetary success in the U.S., but nevertheless, a new trailer has just arrived for one of the best-reviewed films of the year ahead of its release next month.
The documentary tells the story of Ayrton Senna, the legendary, charismatic Brazilian driver widely regarded as one of the greatest ever, who won the world championship three times before tragically perishing on the track in a crash at age 34. BAFTA-winning director Asif Kapadia, who makes his first foray into the documentary world after strong Britflicks "The Warrior" and "Far North" (and the instantly forgotten Sarah Michelle Gellar horror "The Return," but we'll let that one by), breaks convention by avoiding talking heads, constructing the film entirely from some startling archive footage and audio interviews.
We happened to catch the film, which won the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance, last weekend, and while we didn't quite think it matched the ecstatic reviews (the film never really gets to the heart of Senna the man), it's a well-above-average sports doc and any motor racing fans or documentary obsessives would do well to check it out. It hits theaters on August 12th, and you can watch the trailer below or in HD over at Apple.