Synopsis: Twice a year the Italian city of Siena goes crazy for the oldest horse race in the world: the Palio. Not your average race: strategy, bribery and corruption play as much a part as the skill of the riders. Horses are allocated by lot four days prior to the race. This is when the madness truly begins. In the eye of the storm stand the jockeys. Loved and loathed by the districts they represent, they forge alliances and make deals promising large cash sums to try and get the best start. Legendary rider Gigi Bruschelli has won 13 Palios in 16 years and is accused by his critics of monopolizing the race. He works the system, paying off younger jockeys and fixing the race with average horses. Two races away from beating the world record, Bruschelli will do anything to win. But one jockey stands in his way, his former trainee, a handsome young Sardinian, Giovanni Atzeni, who is quietly determined to challenge his old mentor. Less interested in bribes and collusion, he rides for the love of the
Director(s): Cosima Spender
  1 win & 6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
91 min

There's Siena.

That's where it all happens..

the good and the bad.


# The whole city knows by now #

# Goose.. remove your crown #


# I told you, Tower #

# The Goose

can't be dominated #

At the height of summer.. the

Sienese sharpen their weapons

to gain supremacy

in Piazza del Campo.

During the Palio, it's like

going back to the 1400s

when the city was divided into

separately governed districts.

Some districts are enemies

because of boundary disputes

and other districts are enemies

because of historical insults.

The Palio is life,

it's the essence of this city.

Every Sienese is born..

raised and buried

in the church of his district.

The Sienese have a love/hate

relationship with the jockeys.

The victorious jockey

is an idol..

but the losing jockey

is a traitor.

The jockey holds the district's

destiny in his hands.



The shenanigans begin

when the starting line up

is called out.

That's when the jockeys

start negotiating

to gain advantage or to

disadvantage their enemies.

It's much more

than a horse race.

You need to use your brain.

Cunning is more important

than strength.


I rode 28 Palios

and won five times.

I started in 1978

and ended in 1996.

In that Palio.. Aceto and I

were declining,

on our way out.

Every 20 years,

somebody new comes in.

In these 90 seconds

you burn or realize

a year's work.

They are furiously

whipping each other.

They're on the third lap.


a Sienese jockey...

Wins the Palio

for the first time.

Having been born in Siena,

the Palio is in my blood.

I was born to be a Palio jockey.

Gigi's first victory for Goose

was my last Palio.

And from then on

he's kept on winning.

Gigi Bruschelli,

known as Trecciolino,

is victorious.

Trecciolino has shown once more

to be the greatest.

If you believe you can achieve

big things, you will.

The horse

wasn't considered strong.

Now you see the difference

a good jockey makes.

The King of the Square

has won again.

Trecciolino has managed

the impossible yet again!

This jockey seems invincible.

The favorite jockey

with the favorite horse.

Gigi Bruschelli has won

his 11th victory.

Trecciolino has achieved

13 victories.

I've won 13 Palios.. so far!

Gigi Bruschelli

has monopolized the square.

To win 13 times in 16 years

proves he's better off the horse

than on the horse.

Understanding the Sienese

and the Palio

gave me an advantage

over outsider jockeys.

My name is Giovanni Atzeni,

nicknamed Tittia.

I'm 28 years old.

I've ridden 18 Palios,

quite a lot.

Only two victories for Goose.

I've ridden a few good Palios

but many terrible ones

but people have always forgiven

me and encouraged me to go on.

I was born in Germany.. my mom's

German and my dad's Sardinian.

Since I was five,

my dad kept horses as a hobby.

After nursery

he'd teach me how to ride.

When I was little, I rode

in the local races in Sardinia.

I didn't speak

a word of Italian.

It was difficult for me.

I watched the Palio on TV.

I hoped for it, it was a dream,

it seemed impossible.

I was lucky to meet

Gigi Bruschelli in Sardinia.

He spotted me

at a local horse race

and suggested I come to Siena

and give it a go.

I arrived at 17

and was with Gigi for two years.

I worked every day

from dawn till dusk.

I worked hard so as not

to think of my family.

I missed them.

Gigi Bruschelli taught me a lot.

He perfected my bareback skills.

He taught me

how to live in this city.

It is said you

are against Bruschelli.

I'm against nobody.

I work for myself

and the districts I race for.

They all become competitors

when they leave my stable.

My problem with

the younger jockeys is

that they don't have the balls

to overthrow the regime

of Gigi Bruschelli.

If my boy doesn't go up

that hill properly

when he gets off his horse,

I'll break his neck.

Now I train Federico, I hope

he'll be a good Palio jockey

and that he'll debut

in the Piazza next year,

but it will be difficult.

You did very well, Federico.

The horse did very well, too.

We're doing well.

You need to concentrate

on the start.

Let's take the bridle off.

I'm in town.

You will find me at Sergio's.

Do you remember this?

Amazing! 1978.

This is your first Palio.

- I'm moved.. I swear.

- Poor darling.

- How old were you?

I was 24.

"Bastiano riding Urbino


an exciting victory for Forest.

Forecasts overturned. "

All the experts thought that

I would fall at the first bend.

- You did almost fall.

- Don't talk bullshit.. where?

At the Casato bend.

What the hell

are you talking about?

- Are you drunk?

- No.. I'm not.

When I reached that bend,

I stooped down.

Let me show you the photos.

I had to avoid the flag.

I did this.

That's funny.

Here it is!

Who's this?

It's me,

but I'm not close to falling.

- It's the horse that stumbled.

- Yes.. the horse.

The horse is close to stumbling.

Don't speak badly about

the horse that made you famous.

You should recognize him.

This is Aceto..

look how ugly he was.

I can't believe

we're friends now.

Look at his face.

Aceto holds the record

for winning the most Palios.

14 Palios is a very difficult

record to break.

Aceto was my biggest enemy.

He gave money to his allies

who would attack me

between the ropes

or while I was riding.

The world turns

because of love and hate.

I didn't love him, I hated him

and this made me feel good.

Even when I lost, if I managed

to make him lose too..

it gave me great pleasure.

It was a real turn-on.

We're entering the kingdom

of Andrea Degortes..

nicknamed Aceto.

Nothing better to do

on a rainy day?

The Palio is not about riding

skills, it's about the game.

If it were just about

riding skills,

I'd have won 30 Palios and

Bruschelli would've won three.

Aceto makes history..

the most expert jockey.

He's done it again..

a dramatic race.

His 14th Palio,

he's broken all records!

I duped the whole world.

Like Attila, where my horse

trod, no grass would grow.

I'm number one..

I can face anyone.

I'm used to sitting

at the head of the table.


When Pavarotti came here..

I sat at the head of the table,

not him.

If you're a number-one bandit..

then you're like me,

but if you're a shitty bandit,

you can get lost.

If you're like Maradona,

then we can talk.

But Bruschelli is a nobody!

No doubt Gigi

wants to beat Aceto's record.

To equal Aceto's record..

he needs one more win.

So July and August are vital

for him to beat the record.

It took me five years

to understand the Palio.

First you have to get

into the mindset of the Sienese.

The Palio is a game.. not a race.

At first I thought it was just

a race.. but there's more to it.

The Sienese work 365 days a year

on the Palio.

The district wins

a painted cloth banner.

The glory.

The district doesn't win money,

it's the jockey who wins money.

But if you want to win

you have to pay off

other districts.

As captain..

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John Hunt

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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