Palio

Director: Cosima Spender (2015)

Making the UK’s Grand National look like a Blackpool beach donkey ride, this sleek documentary captures the ritual, spectacle and danger of Italy’s centuries old horse race The Palio.

Featured in the opening scenes of Bond movie Quantum Of Solace (2008), it takes place twice a summer in the centre of the ancient city Siena.

We follow young Sardinian hopeful Giovanni Atzeni who hopes to wins his first Palio.

But to do so he must overcome his formidable former mentor Gigi Bruschelli who is one win short of the all time record.

Local pride is at stake and the public are as unforgiving as the hair-raising track, inside the city’s ancient central piazza.

Staggering levels of mercenary behaviour and corruption are accepted while whips are used against fellow jockeys as much as the horses.

The jockey’s allow their egos to talk far too much but the racing speaks for itself.

 ★

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