Cinematic cars Moment of zen: Jackie Stewart and Roman Polanski in "Weekend of a Champion" (1972)

Jackie Stewart explains driving the Monaco GP… to Roman Polanski. At breakfast. In his underwear. 1972’s “Weekend of a Champion”, the Polanski film you probably never heard of (although technically he is credited as producer and as a cast member, not as director), is one of the more remarkable (and surreal) things we have come across in recent memory. The two were apparently friends (new to us, maybe old hat to others), and Polanski trailed Stewart with a camera in tow on race day in 1971 (a year that Stewart won).

From a user review (the film is also known as “Afternoon of a Champion”):

Not really that great a documentary but still an interesting and surprisingly intimate look at Jackie Stewart’s race day at the 1971 Monaco GP. The fact that Polanski is obviously a close friend of both Stewart and his girlfriend makes it possible for him to get his subjects to be quite revealing and candid. However it does drag on a bit and could benefit from some rigorous editing.

This was made prior to Stewart’s safety crusade had gotten into full swing, he had by this time however lost most of his close friends to fatal racing accidents. You can see the seeds of his interest in improving driver safety in the conversations he has with Polanski. For his part Polanski is probably a bit too much the friend and the film has a bit of a superficial feel as a result, no really probing, revealing questions or insights here (source).

(h/t! classic car adventures)

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~ by velofinds on November 7, 2010.

7 Responses to “Cinematic cars Moment of zen: Jackie Stewart and Roman Polanski in "Weekend of a Champion" (1972)”

  1. Great find, it’s always great to see candid clips of people like Jackie Stewart. Cool to see him basically lay out his strategy for running one of the oldest courses on the F1 calendar – especially in a year when Stewart and Tyrell pulled out a WDC and CC.

  2. Stewart = King of Smooth
    Polanski = King Scumbag

  3. I have been tryign to get my hands on a copy of this for ever!!! was this even released on VHS??

  4. Also, the user reviewer on imdb is wrong that the seeds of Stewart’s safety push were evident in this film. The ‘seeds” happened all the way back in 1966, with his accident at Spa in a BRM where he was trapped for 25 minutes in his car as the tub filled with fuel. By 1972, he was already crusading to improve safety along with BRM’s boss Louis Stanley. Obviously the loss of his team mate Cevert in 73 was the final straw for him, leading to his retirement.

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