Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Salute, Enzo Ferrari (1898-1988)

Just watched an extremely good movie titled Ferrari. Yup, you guessed correct, it's related to the car that everyone knows about, the prancing horse, Michael Schumacher, Formula One, Austria 2002, Indianapolis 2002, 360 Modena but this movie went way before that. This movie was about Enzo Ferrari, not the car but the founder himself. Man, after watching this movie, my admiration and appreciation of the Ferrari legacy has gone up even more.

The movie appropriately starts with a Ferrari Formula One car going out in testing and we then see Enzo, already in his 70s, holding a classic stop watch. As the car zooms past him, he stops the timer and looks at it. His son, Piero then comes up to him and asked how is it. Enzo promptly said' great, everything's great but add a second to the lap time when you talk to the driver later". Well brilliant start to a movie (if you're a ferrari or racing fan:P). The movie then goes on to when Enzo somehow allowed a mysterious journalist to interview him. Enzo never allowed any reporters to get near him as he thinks they are pest and he quite blatantly tells them so all the time. So, it's quite amzing that he allowed this young chap to interview him. And this is where the movie really kicks off. Enzo starts to tell his story. About his childhood (watching Vincenzo Lancia battle Felice Nazarro in the 1908 Circuit di Bologna), his young days (racing CMN cars in small events and "almost" winning), his triumphs (winning a race with his first son, Dino (still an infant) in his hands), his losses (deaths of his son and designer).

What I like about this movie:

Great acting
Sergio Castellitto is simply amazing as Enzo Ferrari although due to Sergio's age, his portrayal of young Enzo was a tad less convincing but middle-aged onwards, perfectly marvellous. He carried this movie really well. The other actors were all ok as well but Sergio Castellitto was the main driver in this movie (pun intended:P)

Great lines
Only Italian movies or movies about Italians can have brilliant lines such as "Without women, the engines wont even start" and "The Ford deal went to hell. They want to be the bosses in this house and I wont allow that". Mama mia!

Great scenes
Best was the one when after the death of Vittorio Jano, Ferrari's main engine designer, Enzo went to the Ferrari factory and made all the engineers revved up all the engines at once. You need to be a petrol-head to understand the significance of that. And of course, the scene where Enzo declined to sign the agreement to sell Ferrari to Ford at the last second after realizing that his lawyers didnt read the fine-print properly. Enzo was still supposed to take care of the sports car division and have a free reign over it. But agreement still insisted that he had a 100k budget cap. Above that, have to consult Detroit. Of course, later on, Ford went on to make the GT40 and whipped Ferrari nicely in many a Le Mans race but that's a different story altogether. One other touching moment was where Enzo saw his brilliant young driver Gilles Villeneuve bringing his family, wife Joanna, son Jacques (ya, that canadian driver) and daughter Melanie, to the track. Enzo then tried to hint to Gilles to take it easy on the track and value his family. Of course, as we all unfortunately know, Gilles Villeneuve died on the track in 1982 while in a Ferrari.

Enzo's success definitely didn't come without a price. There were many deaths (son Dino, engine designer Vittorio, Gilles, test driver Marco Guigni etc). The last scene poignantly had Enzo saying "There is no triumph or glory in the world that's worth an inch of human skin".

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