Rated 3.0

Asif Kapadia’s documentary portrait of race-car superstar Ayrton Senna is built around a wealth of archival footage. Home movies, TV interviews and spectacular footage from racing broadcasts all figure in this surprisingly dramatic account of the Brazilian driver’s meteoric career in Formula One racing from the mid-1980s to his death in 1994. Senna’s extraordinary passion for racing and his ascent to culture-hero status in Brazil are prominent parts of the emerging tale, and so is the calculated and somewhat compulsive risk-taking of the top-flight drivers. The paradoxes of Senna’s character and of Formula One culture are centrally displayed, but not fully examined. Senna’s rivalry with fellow driver Alain Prost and his fleeting friendship with racing doctor Sid Watkins bring two other extraordinary characters into view, albeit too briefly. Kapadia works in a little bit of talking-head footage of his own, but for the most part this intriguing little tale of pell-mell adventurousness and fatalistic derring-do is a deftly composed compilation of whatever footage Kapadia and company could find. Pageant Theatre. Rated PG-13