Search The Archive

Search the film archive

"Imagine a horse race that's part Kentucky Derby and part Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and you'll have a good idea what Italy's Palio di Siena is all about." – Time Out New York

From the producer of Senna (MIFF 2010) comes director Cosima Spender's enthralling documentary on a race dubbed "The Hunger Games on horseback".

Twice a year, the Italian city of Siena stops for the oldest horse race in the world, the Palio, where corruption is as integral to the outcome of the race as equine talent, tactics and the skill of the riders.

Palio follows Gigi Bruschelli – winner of 13 Palios in 16 years – and his up-and-coming protégé-turned-rival, the idealistic Giovanni Atzeni, as they clash in a dramatic battle for race honours. Exhilarating race footage, stunning bloodstock photography and mesmerising imagery of the Tuscany region deliver a documentary that is as much a microcosm of Italian life as it is about power and passion.

"Utterly fascinating … the race sequences, with thousands of citizens filling the town square, are as thrilling as anything you're likely to see in this summer's CGI-driven blockbusters." – Film Journal International