Cosima Spender’s immersive film captures the pomp and energy driving a legendary sporting event. Run twice a year in the Italian city of Sienna, the Palio is a majestic spectacle of street horse-racing in which competing jockeys – each representing rival districts of the city – stampede around a temporary track in the main square.
There are rules, but they seem to be there to be flouted, and large amounts of money and local power are at stake. Spender takes us from the suspenseful countdown right into the electrifying action of the race. We also meet managers, jockeys and high-profile supporters, who convey the excitement and drama of the event and give an insight into its darker, corrupt side.
'Palio' is both a thrilling piece of filmmaking and a journey into the secretive and bizarre world of a unique sport.
★★★★ "Terrifically watchable" - Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
★★★★ "An absolute eye-opener" - Trevor Johnston, Time Out