Hundreds of years old, the Palio is an annual horse race in Siena, Italy, whose riders represent different zones of the Tuscan city. "It's more of a game than a race," explains one subject in this documentary, and seemingly anything is permitted—jockeys bribe officials beforehand, form alliances to block common enemies, and regularly attack one another during the race. Director Cosima Spender chronicles the events leading up to one such palio, intercutting profiles of jockeys (both retired and active) with highlights of various competitions and creating a fitful air of anticipation. The interview subjects aren't particularly eloquent, though; they tend to stop the movie dead in its tracks. In Italian with subtitles.
By Ben Sachs