Cosima Spender (2015)

12A Certificate


Our Score
This is a gripping and informative documentary about the bareback horse race run twice a year in Siena. Director Cosima Spender is in the same territory as 2004's The Last Victory, but she goes one better by getting up-close access to the jockeys who race around the murderous piazza where the city's rival districts assemble to cheer on their champions. We meet the young buck being mentored by a retired champ, and also the current top dog, a gristly 13-time winner cusping middle age but unlikely to go down without a fight. It's a classic underdog sports movie gambit and by the time the brutal and mercifully short race gets underway, we're as invested in the outcome as if we had money on the result - though it would be a brave soul who took a punt on a race this thoroughly, and openly, corrupt. Picturesquely shot, tightly edited and re-purposing some old Ennio Morricone soundtrack music to spaghetti-western effect, this is an eye-opening documentary that can be enjoyed with or without previous knowledge of horses or horse racing.


Documentary about the world's oldest horse race, held twice a year in the Italian city of Siena since medieval times. Each of the city's 10 districts enters a rider, with deal-making and bribery as vital to success as good horsemanship. Jockey Gigi Bruschelli needs only two more victories to become the greatest champion in the event's history - but this year, he has fierce competition from his own protege.

Cast & Crew

Director Cosima Spender

Other Information

Language: Italian +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Picturehouse EntertainmentGuidance: ViolenceAvailable on: DVDReleased on: 25 Sep 2015