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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

JOHN McENROE: IN THE REALM OF PERFECTION

12:30 & 8:25 ONLY

Must End Thursday, September 20

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY JULIEN FARAUT

“Cinema lies, sport doesn’t.” - Jean-Luc Godard. At the peak of his tennis fame, John McEnroe was “a man who played on the edge of his senses,” contends filmmaker Julien Faraut. Notorious for his short temper and contemptuous challenges of line judges, McEnroe wielded a mastery of the sport that was often overshadowed by the publicity given to his tantrums on the court. Narrated by French actor/director Mathieu Amalric, the film mines a rich trove of footage, especially the 1984 French Open, culminating in a legendarily suspenseful match against Ivan Lendl. Close-ups, slow motion sequences, and playful animation explore McEnroe’s meticulous attention to the movement and subtleties of tennis — from his often surprising serve to his unpredictable backhand. Faraut, while illustrating the basics of the game for non-fans, ties these lessons to the art of filmmaking in this clever, unconventional documentary.

FRANCE     2018     95 MINS   IN ENGLISH   OSCILLOSCOPE  LABORATORIES

Reviews

“Critic’s Pick. Amusing, hypnotic, whimsical, expertly constructed… aims to understand an athlete’s brilliance by turning him inside out. Faraut’s impressionistic conflation of humor, wonder, horror and sympathy whisks this movie to the deluxe suite of the pleasure palace.”
– Wesley Morris, The New York Times

“The greatest tennis film of all time. Among the very best films on any sport that I’ve ever seen... just go see the damn thing.”
– Corey Seymour, VOGUE online

“As thrilling a vision as you’re likely to see on a screen this year. Invigorating. Faraut’s film doesn’t just put us courtside — it steeps us in the legend’s boiling mind.”
– Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“Fascinating. Hypnotic. (A) remarkable tribute that’s been decades in the making. A sports documentary unlike any other, a beguiling and delightful piece of visionary non-fiction.”
– David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“Vibrant. A fascinating essay on the kinship between tennis and filmmaking. Elegant, witty, and thoughtful. A lovely meditation on time and movement, dedication and obsession, image and perception. Umpired by Mathieu Amalric’s dulcet voice-over, McEnroe’s astonishing 1984 season is set in the context of the man who monomaniacally recorded it, and we get to spectate. Imagines [McEnroe] as a true auteur of the tennis court.”
– Jessica Kiang, Variety