Documentary of Marco Pantani's life and death coming to British cinemas in May 2013

The Accidental Death of a Cyclist is being made by UK team behind works such as Senna and One Night In Turin

by Simon_MacMichael   July 23, 2012  

Marco Pantani (Wikimedia Commons:Hein Ciere)

The life of the late Marco Pantani, the last man to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same season, is to be the subject of a feature-length documentary called The Accidental Death of a Cyclist to be screened in cinemas in the UK in May next year, reports Variety.

Pantani died of cocaine poisoning in a hotel room in the Adriatic resort of Rimini at the age of 34, the compelling story of the supremely talented but troubled cyclist’s life and the circumstances of his death being the subject a number of books including Matt Rendell’s The Death of Marco Pantani.

It's not clear whether the film's title is a direct reference to Nobel Prize winning playwright Dario Fo's work, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, but if it is, and you're familiar with how that work ends, that may be a clue to the conclusion of the  film. Or we could just be reading way too much into that, and the conclusion may simply be that his death was just that, accidental.

According to Rendell’s LinkedIn profile, he has worked on the forthcoming film, which will blend race and news footage with dramatic reconstructions as well as interviews with friends and family.

The film is being made by London-based New Black Films and directed by James Erskine, who previously collaborated with the production company on One Night in Turin, which followed England’s journey to the semi-final of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, and cricket documentary, From The Ashes.

rskine will co-produce the film with Victoria Gregory, who has previously produced works such as Senna and Man on a Wire.

"This is not just a film about cycling, but a psychological exploration of what drives athletes to compete; the masochistic pursuit of victory, to the point of self-destruction," said Erskine.

"It will look in detail at the nature of what it means to be a sporting champion and what great victories mean, in the controversial context of the doping allegations that continue to plague the sport.”

The film will also be available on DVD through Channel 4’s 4DVD subsidiary.

The executive producers on the film are Robert Jolliffe of Goldcrest Capital and Dominic Schreiber, rights development manager at 4Rights, who said: "We've been big fans of James and Victoria's work for some time.

"After the success of Senna, it's clear there is a real demand for well-crafted films that combine stunning archive with brilliant storytelling."

16 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I LOVED Senna, so just hope their have done Pantani justice. Yes he MAY have been doped to the eyeballs, but he was still a legend in my eyes. The guy climbing some serious ascents at a pace few could keep with, while still looking like bald Frodo Devil

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8959 posts]
24th July 2012 - 0:14

10 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
Yes he MAY have been doped to the eyeballs... The guy climbing some serious ascents at a pace few could keep with

Thinking

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8292 posts]
24th July 2012 - 0:37

10 Likes

My hero!!!!

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
24th July 2012 - 7:14

5 Likes

Matt Rendell's book is actually called The Death of Marco Pantani.

posted by stevboss [19 posts]
24th July 2012 - 7:21

5 Likes

Thanks stevboss, crossed wire there - corrected

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8292 posts]
24th July 2012 - 7:50

9 Likes

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:
Yes he MAY have been doped to the eyeballs... The guy climbing some serious ascents at a pace few could keep with

Thinking

Be fair, they were all doped up to the eyeballs, level playing field and all that...

posted by edf242 [36 posts]
24th July 2012 - 9:10

9 Likes

One of the greatest cyclists that ever lived.

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [299 posts]
24th July 2012 - 9:36

7 Likes

"a psychological exploration of what drives athletes to compete; the masochistic pursuit of victory, to the point of self-destruction"

Sadly, this self-destructive pattern has been covered before - see Fotheringham's book about Tom Simpson and the documentary that was aired on BBC4 (now on Youtube, both in one long video and 6 parts).

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2008 posts]
24th July 2012 - 11:56

10 Likes

I've never understood the cult of Pantani, why love a doper? I'll be interested to see how he is portrayed in this documentry.

posted by kitkat [215 posts]
24th July 2012 - 12:00

7 Likes

Good point kitkat; I have no time for dopers but for me Pantani was somehow diffrent Confused Do not know why. I remember Pantani having a strop when Armstrong 'let' him win a mountain stage; think he was saying that he had the measure of Armstrong. I wonder whether his troubles (depression?) post career were to do with drug abuse during his career (ashamed?). Like you would like to see how he is portrayed.

posted by SideBurn [838 posts]
24th July 2012 - 18:45

5 Likes

forza il pirata

posted by prinzi [77 posts]
24th July 2012 - 18:54

5 Likes

Don't get the cult of Pantani. I read Rendell's book and he came across as a cheat, and a pretty unpleasant piece of work. People love the' flawed hero'. Flawed definitely but no hero.

Pink shorts with a tyre splatter of grime was never a good look either.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1072 posts]
24th July 2012 - 22:58

6 Likes

Talking of heroes. Good to see Hinault surging forward in a rage and throwing yet another usurping tosser off the podium on Saturday. See it on Velonews. The badger strikes again! If that was you Tony or Dave - you shouldn't have been up there..

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1072 posts]
24th July 2012 - 23:04

6 Likes

MercuryOne wrote:
People love the' flawed hero'. Flawed definitely but no hero.

i guess this depends on how you view a 'hero' (a word that has lost a lot of it's meaning with today's overuse) a feature of the original classical hero is that he is almost perfect but has some sort of flaw, which you could say applies to Pantani with regard to doping and his post-race struggles with drugs

he is a hero to me - i admire what he did in cycling, i can also see and accept his flaws

posted by VecchioJo [756 posts]
25th July 2012 - 21:42

6 Likes

VecchioJo wrote:
MercuryOne wrote:
People love the' flawed hero'. Flawed definitely but no hero.

i guess this depends on how you view a 'hero' (a word that has lost a lot of it's meaning with today's overuse) a feature of the original classical hero is that he is almost perfect but has some sort of flaw, which you could say applies to Pantani with regard to doping and his post-race struggles with drugs

he is a hero to me - i admire what he did in cycling, i can also see and accept his flaws


Me too I gotta agree with VecchioJo
& let us not forget there were others on considerably more expensive 'preparation' programs Wink

IMO if you don't 'get' Pantani then you don't really understand racing & you certainly give the EPO way to much credit!!... he was so brave in where he would choose to attack... don't see much of that anymore Crying

Paulo's picture

posted by Paulo [110 posts]
26th July 2012 - 16:34

5 Likes

If you only we had someone like him now in the Peloton. Not doped up, obviously, but we seem to be lacking in characters. You have Voeckler and maybe Pirazzi but thats it.

He is a legend in my eyes.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2810 posts]
24th May 2013 - 7:40

10 Likes