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Less a traditional sports documentary and more of a moving picture essay, this unique film is constructed using archival 16mm footage taken at Paris’s Roland Garros Stadium in 1984. That time and place is key: 1984 was best season of McEnroe’s career (he played 85 games and only lost three) – and yet his most bitter loss that season was to Ivan Lendl at the French Open at Roland Garros. The film observes a world-class athlete at the top of his game, in the midst of a massive set back – paying as much attention to McEnroe’s volatile personality as to his form and the geometry of his backhands. This is a portrait of genius, of the human body, of art performed on a clay court. It’s McEnroe under a microscope.
- John McEnroe
- Ivan Lendl
- Mathieu Amalric
Atom User Reviews
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection is quite simply the greatest tennis film ever made and one of the finest documentaries to honor any sport.
Director Julien Faraut, who oversees the French Sport Institute’s 16mm film collection, showcases masterful command of the documentary form. His insightful, entertaining and often humorous film will appeal to fans of McEnroe, tennis and sport in general.
Spry and playful at times, pedantic and ponderously repetitive at others, the film is French down to its sweaty tennis socks and ultimately a touch too self-satisfied in its clever unconventionality.