Programmed by Benoît Hické
An immersive film essay on tennis legend John McEnroe at the height of his career as the world champion, documenting his strive for perfection, frustrations, and the hardest loss of his career at the 1984 Roland-Garros French Open.
‘Cinema lies, not sport’. Straight away, Julien Faraut’s film sets the tone, which he personifies with one of the greatest ever opening scenes: slow-motion footage of John McEnroe in action, to the sound of one of Sonic Youth’s most explosive titles. Godard, McEnroe, movement decomposed, the historic union of sport and cinema, incandescent rock: the project is clearly ambitious and its first promise kept. By juxtaposing the fruit of his research at the INSEP (French institute for sport, expertise and performance) and the prodigious final between Lendl and McEnroe in 1984, Julien Faraut successfully devises a spectacular film that remains a genuine lesson in cinéma-vérité. He takes us back to the very essence of cinema, with work by its experimenting pioneers on the present-day site of Roland Garros. Accompanied by the voice of Mathieu Amalric (director of ‘Stade de Wimbledon’, pure luck or coincidence), this film offers sport, gesture and movement all their vital strength, and such is its original value.
Programmer and professor