Video: ‘Ferrari’ | Anatomy of a Scene


Hi, I’m Michael Mann. I’m the director of ‘Ferrari’. This is a scene in the San Pietro Church in which there’s a workers mass and Enzo and Laura have just come from their daily visit to the mausoleum where their son Dino was buried. He died a year earlier. They’re both in a state of mourning. And it opens with the priest giving a speech, which is designed to establish the miracle of the eternal combustion engine, almost as if it’s something religious, because it has the power to do what’s never been done before, which is make everybody mobile, make it so people can move through the world. It’s infected Enzo differently in the sense that it imbued him in the early ‘20s to become a racecar driver, which has its own addictive, almost spiritual kind of high to it. “— the nature of metal, how it can be forged, shaped, and hammered by your skills into an engine, holding inside a fire to make power to speed us through the world.” Meanwhile, on the nearby racetrack called The Autodromo, Maserati is challenging Ferrari for the record at the track. This is something they take seriously. The driver is Jean Behra, played by Derek Hill, whose father, by the way, Phil Hill, was first American Formula One world champion. It intercuts with the mass, we’re hearing Mozart’s “Ave Verum.” The priest consecrates the host. Meanwhile, something very important is happening. We’re seeing Behra shift through something called the ‘Stanguellini Chicane.’ It’s important to know those shifts that have to happen, because in a later scene, we’re going to see Castellotti make an error that will cost him his life. There’s a particular piece here where there’s the camera tilting down the crucifix that cuts to the priest raising the chalice, and then you go right over the shoulder of Jean Behra driving. And it personalizes it and that was to give things significance. We see stopwatches, because within the church, you can hear the gunshot because the Autodromo is so close. And they’re able to time the time between the first gun shot and the second gunshot, which will tell them whether or not the competitor, Maserati, has broken the record. Meanwhile, the communion is ongoing to Mozart’s “Ave Verum.” And we’re seeing some unusual in that it’s so ordinary, but it’s very complete of Derek Hill really driving that Maserati, which is an actual car. It’s owned by Nick Mason, the Pink Floyd drummer. It’s raced in historical races. Because of the technology, and the period, and the narrow tires, it’s extremely precise. One slip and the car is out of control. So we’re seeing those controls actually being put in. And of course, the Maserati does break the Ferrari record. My serious intent was to imbue into audience’s minds what’s in our characters minds, which is, there’s something almost religious and deadly serious about it. The metaphysical, the savage power is really what is wedded together as a value in the scene. So truly, the scene is operating on about two or three different levels all at the same time. “Espiritu Santi. Amen.” “Amen.”



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