Cosima Spender’s immersive film captures the pomp and energy driving one of the world's 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 only seem to be in place in order to be flouted – and vast sums of money as well as local prestige are at stake. Spender takes us from the suspenseful countdown and into the electrifying action and thrill of the race. The film encounters the managers, jockeys and high-profile supporters central to the event, who convey its excitement and drama, and offer an insight into its darker, corrupt side.
'Palio' is both a thrilling documentary and a fascinating exploration of the secretive and bizarre world of a unique sporting event.
★★★★ "Terrifically watchable" - Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
★★★★ "An absolute eye-opener" - Trevor Johnston, Time Out