Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Don't watch Senna on Emirates Inflight

Imagine being excited about something, being let down and then getting excited about it again.

That's what exactly what happened for me with the documentary recapping the life of Formula 1 great, Ayrton Senna.  The documentary, simply titled "Senna" was released a few months ago and I'd seen various previews for the film on TV or online.  As a sports enthusiast and someone who grew up watching the infamous Prost vs. Senna battles in the late 1980's and early 1990's, this was a film I simply had to watch.

So I was extremely excited when I was flying with Emirates last month and saw the film was available to watch on the inflight entertainment system.  Before the flight could take off, I 'd plugged in my headsets and started the watching the documentary.

The excitement though didn't last.  As I finished the film, I was left somewhat disappointed.  The footage, the narratives, the battles versus Prost, the car and the F1 bosses were captured brilliantly.  However, I felt like I literally missed something in translation.  The problem with the movie as it was shown on Emirates Inflight was that the narratives from those interviewed or sound bytes that the documentary captured from the time were in various different languages.  Some of it was in English but there were bits that were in French, Japanese and Portuguese.  Courtesy of my GSCE French class, I could understand most of what was said in French but I was at a loss for what was said in Japanese and Portuguese.  Considering that Senna was Brazilian, a lot of the sound bytes of Senna himself, his family or those in Brazil, was difficult to comprehend.  While you have a sense of what is being said, you somehow feel you've understand about 40-50% of the dialogue.

I found it strange as to why a film maker would produce a movie that most people won't understand completely.  Then a few weeks later while talking to another industry executive about the movie, I realized the problem was not with the film maker but with Emirates Inflight entertainment.  It seems Emirates has shown a version of the movie without subtitles and if you watch the film on DVD, you've got subtitles to everything that was being said in French, Japanese and Portuguese.  This same executive ended up lending me the DVD and I really loved the movie as a result of that.  In fact, I was always a pro-Prost fan growing up but after watching the DVD, I realized I should've been supporting Senna all along.  There was so much politics involved in F1 racing and I was perhaps too naive to understand it at the time.

If you haven't seen Senna yet and you're flying Emirates, avoid watching it.  Download it or buy it on DVD if you have to.  It's a great documentary, I highly recommend it but don't get yourself disappointed for no reason by watching it on Emirates.