In the Realm of Perfection

  • Julien Faraut
  • 2018
    • France
  • 94 min
  • Colour and B&W
  • Production
  • Ufo Production

This deconstructed portrait of John McEnroe approaches the world of tennis from a droll and little-known angle: the training film, which is “very much a part of the history of cinema”, as Mathieu Amalric points out in a voice-over commentary. Gil de Kermadec, who for decades served as the French national tennis institute’s technical director, gave it its credentials. From this pioneer, Julien Faraut borrows not only images but also a thematic shift: in 1977, Kermadec, who began with research on movements that were generic enough to be shaped into a method in his instructional films, chose to focus on portraits of players. From then on, it was the singularity of gestures that counted. This was also the time when the film critic Serge Daney wrote his most brilliant texts on tennis and when McEnroe was emerging on the world stage. Editing the fascinating 16mm dailies filmed at the Roland-Garros tournament, Julien Faraut triturates the documentary. “The advantage of clay courts,” wrote Daney: is that it creates fiction.” Famed for his temper tantrums, McEnroe’s ability to continue to think strategically during a game is astonishing. Step by step, what emerges is an inquiry into perfectionism – its living hell, the struggle with oneself that it imposes and the complex dramaturgy it introduces, which stretches far beyond the media circus. (Charlotte Garson)

  • Friday 23 March 2018 20H40 Cinéma 1

    French original Version Subtitled in English + debate

    Voir la grille
  • Monday 26 March 2018 11H30 Luminor

    French original Version Subtitled in English

    Voir la grille
  • Tuesday 27 March 2018 18H30 Cinéma 2

    French original Version Subtitled in English + debate

    Voir la grille
  • Friday 06 April 2018 18H30 Les Cinoches (Hors les murs)

    French original Version Subtitled in English + debate

    Voir la grille