1971: a Grand Prix on film
When Jackie Stewart arrived in Monaco for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1971, he was about to go down in history. Not only because he went on to win the race and become world champion, like in 1969 and 1973, but also because he accepted the role of film star for the weekend.
The famous film-maker Roman Polansky followed him for three days straight with a handheld camera. Little did he realise that his film would become a historical document and a testimony to the exceptional character of this three-time champion and to the Monaco circuit.
The documentary has been sleeping for decades on the shelves of a London laboratory where it was even almost destroyed. Restored and completed by Polanski himself, it was presented at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and last December in Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum in the presence of the director and driver, reunited after over 40 years: a truly emotional moment.
For three days, Polanski and his camera closely followed the Scottish champion, both on and off the track. The film reveals toasts at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo and conversations in the bathroom with his wife, discussions between racing legends in the paddock, the shrill shrieks from Stewart’s V8 Cosworth and incredible shots at the level of the racing car’s butterfly-style steering wheel with the car at top speed. Here we witness a champion, an icon of his time, a true rock star complete with sideburns and shades just like Elvis!
But the other star of the film is of course the Monaco Grand Prix itself. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious automotive races. Its unique setting, combining luxury, performance and glamour has made it the key date in the motor sport calendar.