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The Last Victory Review

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Documentary on Sienna's eight-second horse race around the town square, and the passions it provokes among the locals.

★★★★★

In Sienna, the big local event is the Palio - a dangerous-looking, 80-second horse race around a town square. Civetta, the smallest district in the city, hasn't won the race since 1979, but residents show a fanatical devotion - beyond religion, politics or even trivial sports like World Cup football - to the race and their hope for victory this year.

The film highlights characters, like 92 year-old Egidio or young groom Paolo, but focuses more on the anonymous faces yearning for a win, dreading a loss.

For Civettans, the Palio is so important it doesn't need to be explained to outsiders like a film crew or the eventual audience. Therefore, the film doesn't explore the history or even explain the rules of the race.

An outside-looking-in documentary, made by curious Dutch filmmakers about passionate Italians, it uncovers a strange, intriguing story, packed full of elation, pride, despair, conspiracy, malice and joy.

The documentary uncovers a strange, intriguing story, packed full of elation, pride, despair, conspiracy, malice and joy, though it could've benefitted from more backgound history.

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