The Last Victory

"Good"

The Last Victory Review


Explaining just what Il Palio is could consume the bulk of this review, but I guess I'm bound to try and outline it anyway. In the Italian village of Siena, they hold an annual horse race as part of a citywide festival of sorts. The horses are assigned, at random (along with the jockeys), to each of the 17 contrades, districts of the city which are each named after a different animal. The horse race itself is dangerous and quick -- it plays out over a minute and a half in a race around the town square, its cobblestones covered in sand and jammed full of spectators. And then its over, leaving joy for one winner and a year of heartache for the rest.

John Appel trains his camera on all of this, with most of the film relegated to interviewing young and old, particularly in the city's smallest district of Civetta, whose last victory (hence the title) dates back 25 years and who turn out to be the favorite this time around thanks to a lucky draw of a good horse and jockey. The local elders, many of whom rarely leave Civetta (it's bad luck to do much outside the contrade), are stuffed full of pride and hope. Maybe this will be their year to win.

Pity then that so much of the movie is much ado about nothing. Young men practice flag tossing skills. Locals add extra lighting to their shops to prepare for the tourists. Folks set up barricades for the course. Steamrollers pat down the sand, back and forth, back and forth. The insights of Last Victory turn out to be much more about how small towns prepare for large amounts of people than it does about the areas rich history or its meteoric local heroes.



The Last Victory

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 26th August 2004

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: John Appel

Producer: Carmen Cobos

Contactmusic


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