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199 words about Le Mans
Love is a 5.0-liter word
If all car movies are love letters, all chase sequences are car movies’ most openhearted passage, so it makes sense that a racing movie elliptically interrupted by a love story was noted Bullitt guy Steve McQueen’s passion project. Supposedly influenced by French art house cinema and famously featuring no dialogue for the first 36 minutes, Le Mans for the unprepared is a chase both of plot and point: Who are these people? What is the storyline? How much of this is acting? Why do we care? To which anyone who’s seen it will tell you: We don’t. What we care about is all there in the start sequence pulse and subsequent religious epithet-inducing roar of glory from 5.0-liter V-12 Porsche 917s and Ferrari 512s. When boomer dads bemoan how the sex used to be safe and the racing dangerous, this (even more so than the cars of Ford Vs. Ferrari) is what they’re elegizing: a place where horsepower, tire technology, track safety and general common sense are finally, conclusively overmatched. Of course it couldn’t last — and of course the real Le Mans event’s organizers have been chasing this platonic ideal ever since. You can see, hear, feel why.