John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection 15

BUY TICKETS 5pm Sunday 30 June

DIRECTOR Julien Faraut

An entertaining and innovative archive documentary about sporting brilliance, showmanship and the art of filming tennis.

Far from a traditional documentary, this film revisits the rich bounty of 16mm footage of tennis star John McEnroe, at the time the world’s top-ranked player, as he competes in the French Open in 1984. Close-ups and slow motion sequences of McEnroe playing, as well as instances of his notorious temper tantrums, create a lively and immersive look at a driven athlete. A fascinating study of the sport of tennis, the human body, and how these intersect with cinema itself.
(2018 France 95 mins)

What on paper might be a standard sporting bio-doc, largely relevant only to tennis aficionados or fans of John McEnroe at the height of his powers, instead becomes a lovely meditation on time and movement, dedication and obsession, image and perception … “In the Realm of Perfection” imagines him as a true auteur of the tennis court, a sculptor in time and the red clay of Roland Garros, and a storyteller, endlessly retelling a narrative of victory, trying to achieve perfection, and getting 96.5% of the way there.  Jessica Kiang, Variety 

BBFC advice: Contains infrequent strong language and moderate sex references
Detailed advice from the BBFC (click on insight)