Archive of films Last Victory / De Laatste Overwinning

2003, 88 min

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Year: 2004

If you are an admirer of Italian culture then you won’t want to miss this exhilarating account of preparations for the sporting-cultural event of the year (and the event itself) in Tuscany’s Siena: the centuries’ old palio horse race. 


You haven’ t heard of il palio? The Sienese live the whole year in anticipation of this centuries’ old horse race, which takes place right on the main square, the Piazza del Campo. Historically, the town was divided into districts, or contrade, whose inhabitants formed a close-knit community. Rivalry between the individual “towns within a town” climaxed with the exhilarating three-lap race. John Appel’s documentary presents the frenetic atmosphere of last year’s palio as he talks to the inhabitants of the Civetta (owl) district (which last won in 1979), and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the sporting-cultural event of the year. The passionate devotion with which 92-year-old Egidio speaks about “his” people and “his” quarter provokes enthusiasm, smiles and is touching. The film captures the remarkable solidarity between people of all generations, for whom winning this year’s palio is more important than anything else. Will Civetta win this year, or will its inhabitants soak the trampled sand of the Piazza del Campo for the 25th straight time?

About the director

John Appel (b. 1958) graduated in the classics at university in Amsterdam, and in camerawork and documentary filmmaking from the Dutch Film and Television Academy. Since 1987 he has shot more than 30 (primarily) television documentaries. In 1999 She Believes in Me (André Hazes, zij gelooft in mij) won the Joris Ivens Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). In 2000 he and Heddy Honigmann founded a production company. Selected filmography: Radio Daniëlle (1988), Trench of Death (1999), Thou Shalt Not Kill (2000), Naomi & Her Mother (2003), Senegal Surplace (2003).


Cobos Films
Nicolaas Witsenkade 18-D, 1073EE, Amsterdam
Tel: +31 650695968
E-mail: [email protected]

EYE Film Institute Netherlands
IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT, Amsterdam
Tel: +31 207582375
E-mail: [email protected]

Films Transit International Inc.
252 Gouin Boulevard East, H3L 1A8, Montreal, Quebec
Tel: +1 514 844 3358
Fax: +1 514 844 7298
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Director: John Appel
Screenplay: John Appel
Dir. of Photography: Erik van Empel
Music: Wouter van Bemmel
Editor: Mario Steenbergen
Producer: Carmen Cobos
Production: Cobos Films
Contact: Cobos Films, EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Films Transit International Inc.


John Appel

Film Director, Producer, Tutor / Trainer

Claudia Landsberger

Film Institution Rep., Distributor


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