About the film
Release Date: Feb 21, 2019
Director: Julien FarautJohn McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection investigates the mercurial tennis legend at the height of his career, documenting his quest for perfection, his frustrations, and the hardest defeat of his life, against Ivan Lendl at the 1984 French Open.
Narrated by Mathieu Amalric (Sink or Swin, Ismael’s Ghosts, Grand Budapest Hotel), using unseen 16mm footage from the Roland-Garros film archives, this immersive film showcases the iconic grace, infamous temper and unique style that powered McEnroe’s incredible hunt for tennis perfection.
Entirely culled together from hours and hours of gorgeous 16mm footage shot by Gil de Kermadec (the former technical director of the French Tennis Federation), Faraut’s hypnotic portrait looks at the game through the lens of film theory, recasting one of its most emotional and demanding athletes as something of an auteur.
Far from a traditional documentary, director Julien Faraut probes the archival footage to unpack McEnroe’s devotion to the sport, creating an utterly unique portrait of a driven athlete, a study on the sport of tennis, the human body in action, and finally how these all intersect with cinema itself.
And now to McEnroe himself. The man played tennis like he was performing a one-man show with each rally being a compelling drama unto itself. Faraut’s film doesn’t just put us courtside — it steeps us in the legend’s boiling mind.