Palio

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kevinknapman
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Palio

#1 Post by kevinknapman » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:23 pm



Twice a year on the 2nd July and the 16th August a bareback horse race called the Palio takes place on the Piazza del Campo in the historic Italian city of Siena. A popular tradition for almost 800 years it lasts just 90 seconds and is fast and often brutal.

If that sounds like a slight subject matter for a feature length documentary, you'd be surprised how gripping and fascinating this 90 minute film is. The race itself may be over in no time but preparation for it can take up the whole year. Add to that a background of shady deals and backhanders between the districts and jockeys that take part beforehand (even up to and including on the starting line) and you have a tale of almost Machiavellian proportions. It's also full of amusing details such as the fact that riderless horses can and have won in previous years.

Director Cosima Spender also wisely directs her attention to two jockeys in particular so that you become emotionally invested by the time the two races come around. The seasoned and successful winner of 13 Palios Gigi Bruschetti hoping to beat the record of 14 held by Andrea 'Aceto' Degortes and the young and passionate glory seeker Giovanni Atzeli who has yet to win. By the end you'll probably be cheering on Atzeli and willing the devious and manipulative Bruschetti to come a cropper. Interviews with the colourful and funny veteran winners Aceto and Silvano Vigni also add to the overall enjoyment.

The races themselves are thrilling and nail-biting affairs, and visually superb and cinematic despite their brevity.

Perhaps it would have been interesting to hear more about how dangerous the race can probably be for the horses (something you get the impression the filmmakers turn a slight blind eye to) but as a study of a unique sporting event it's almost perfect.
By the producers of Senna it's as accomplished and watchable as that was and is well worth seeking out.

Not only was it odd that the Odeon Wimbledon was the only venue for tonight's Showfilmfirst screening but it was also in one of the cinema's bigger screens (a size usually only used for previews of blockbuster type movies). As surprising as that was, it was a pleasure to see this kind of film on such a big screen.
Last edited by kevinknapman on Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Palio

#2 Post by raj101 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:22 pm

was surprised that Wimbledon let us use Screen 7 (the biggest non-imax) for a preview, you'd expect Maze RUnner to be on there this week. Wonder why. But a rare gem in the event - a documentary on a huge screen.

Was expecting a room for of Italians..but no, was surprised to see families with children (girls mainly) - then it dawned on me, Surrey/Southwest London is a hotbed for "Pony clubs". There were however a few walkouts.

This was slow to start, but soon emerged a rare attention to detail in the world of the Palio, plus a decent dose of ballsy humour from the participants, yielding an interesting enough doc about the race even for someone who isn't into horse racing.
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Re: Palio

#3 Post by kodreone » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:13 am

Going to watch this one next Monday. I have been Twice to see the Palio race live and it will be interesting to see if the documentary can bring the expectation, energy and all the emotions you can feel when you are there.
Buzzing for it.

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Re: Palio

#4 Post by alythonian » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:38 pm

Edinburgh was quite busy tonight for a Telegraph screening. Average age of audience was retired which was good as they all kept quiet and didn't play with their phones!

It was v dark which suited me but not the poor old dear who came in late and walked into a chair or the lady at the front who banged into the chair in front and spilled her popcorn all over the floor.

The film. Not a fan of horses but this was intriguing documentary. The fact they tear it as a game rather than a race was fascinating. What was never explained was how this was pa*d for other than it was pa*d for by the districts. Donations? Taxes? I must look and see.
Loved the retired guys they were entertaining.
Kept my attention throughout.

7/10 documentary
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Re: Palio

#5 Post by Cortone » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:27 pm

Leeds Light was pretty full, although about 6 people walked out abut an hour in. (Why????)

I found this compelling storytelling, with interesting - and determined - characters. The traditions seemed so archaic, but very Italian - full of character - and a bit of 'corruption'.

Thoroughly enjoyed this - much better than I expected, and have already recommended it to others.

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Re: Palio

#6 Post by ejwrank » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:48 pm

Well I am the odd one out so far. I thought this was boring and could have done with seeing just the July Palio as I was fed up with it. I also wanted to know about the injuries/deaths to both jockeys and horses which was almost totally ignored with just one fleeting reference to a knee injury at the very end. It looked horrific and there must be fatalities.
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Re: Palio

#7 Post by elski » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:02 pm

Someone asked at the q&a I went to on friday and apparently no jockey has ever died, unfortunately it was the last question so there couldn't be a follow up with similar question about the horses.
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Re: Palio

#8 Post by yogi » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:06 am

I thought this was an excellent insight into, what seemed at times, another world. Indeed some of the animal treatment was a long, long way from what we'd tolerate in the UK, which may explain the numerous walkouts tonight.

The race is brutal, for both horses and riders and incredibly corrupt, there's one scene when all the other riders are bunched up and Gigi has a clear 1-2 metre space around him which is hilarious because it's so brazen. It's fascinating seeing the districts work themselves into a frenzy, the vast amounts of money involved and all the rituals, some to counteract the corruption and some bizarre ones such as what the whips are made from!

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Re: Palio

#9 Post by n24545 » Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:16 pm

Interesting documentary but slow in places.. I'm not really a horse lover could see why others may have enjoyed it more than me! 5/10

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Re: Palio

#10 Post by valda » Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:34 pm

elski wrote:Someone asked at the q&a I went to on friday and apparently no jockey has ever died, unfortunately it was the last question so there couldn't be a follow up with similar question about the horses.
Horses have died, that's why I wouldn't go. I think the last one was 2004,
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