The EMPIRE OF PERFECTION, or McEnroe as we never saw -Review

For his second documentary, The EMPIRE OF PERFECTION , the film director Julien Faraut brings to life with all the codes of the fiction rushes to Gil de Kermadec and recounts with enthusiasm the exceptional player that was John McEnroe.

The EMPIRE OF PERFECTION is not so much a documentary on the tennis player John McEnroe as a film about the fascination that has carried the player on Gil de Kermadec. This last is little known to the general public, but all the tennis players who attended the international tournaments, including Roland Garros, consider his work. Recognized as a pioneer in the way of filming the tennis in order to better grasp the technique, he first worked on the movies of instruction, putting players in a position to demonstrate their game and their movements. Then he developed his method of portrait didactics, and in particular the one dedicated to John McEnroe, has become a hallmark of Gil de Kermadec, and even its object of study obsessive.

The director Julien Faraut is in charge of the charge of the archives at the INSEP (Institut National du Sport). Come present his documentary at the Festival International du Film de La Rochelle, he says he stumbled on the twenty hours of footage of film 16-millimeter rounds at Roland Garros in the early 80s, and had exceptionally not been destroyed. The type of texture of this film, rather used for the film, featured “so ambiguousJohn McEnroe under all the seams, but its opponents appear on the screen. The desire of Julien Faraut make a movie came from his “desire to share these images rare with the audience, and make a documentary digressif that kind of usual codes, because it follows its own path, to the image of Gil de Kermadec“. This choice will strengthen, in fact, the impression that can have the viewer, especially at the beginning of the film, not to grasp precisely what it’s going to be out of the question.

The EMPIRE OF PERFECTION is a documentary original and captivating, which goes well beyond the world of tennis and provides the touching portrait of a genius of tennis

But very quickly, the viewer understands that the object film that is not identified is not so much a film about the sport, nor is it a biopic about John McEnroe, that a film that compares the sport to a fiction and compares sports and film. And it is precisely the interest of The EMPIRE OF PERFECTION. The director, of which this is the second documentary, cite, moreover, Jean-Luc Godard and his sentence mythical: “The film is lying, not the sport“. He also cites Serge Daney, famous critic editor-in-chief of Cahiers du Cinema, who had agreed to write a column about tennis in the Newspaper Libération, and for which “The clay creates fiction“. And the developer is working brilliantly, through the editing of such footage, the testimonies of the soundman and the cameraman Gil de Kermadec and the analysis of a medical clinician to enter at what point the reality of the game and the behavior of John McEnroe are just as much sources of emotions and suspense that a work of fiction film.

The climax of this analysis, it is the final of Roland Garros and the opponent in 1984 to Yvan Lendl. It is certain that those who have had the chance to attend this final will be a treat to see it teased out in this way. But most of all, beyond this moment, there are, as in a drama, a hero, a story, twists and emotions. Four hours fascinating. The viewer then has all the cards in hand to be able to enjoy the game and the personality of McEnroe. One understands to what extent the unpredictability of the movements and gestures of the player affects the insecurity of opponents. But also that the player was fighting first against himself, and that this concern unhealthy perfection, its anger and its crises of dissent towards the referees were the negative emotions that led precisely to accomplish and never to be satisfied with his game. And the one that we thought to be an actor, a spoiled child, angry at the expressiveness sometimes outrageous, that the public fawned upon as much as he hated him, there was ultimately not a. It was all to be highly sensitive, which suffered, like all perfectionists who are under pressure due to parental before appropriating it to enhance their lives.

Julien Faraut has also had the good idea to strengthen permanently the idea that sport and cinema are closely related, to offer to Mathieu Amalric, whose warm voice, wraparound is recognizable between all, to comment on the film. The EMPIRE OF PERFECTION is therefore a documentary original and captivating, which goes well beyond the world of tennis, and offers beautiful emotions to draw a portrait touching and sensitive to a genius of tennis.


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The EMPIRE OF PERFECTION, or McEnroe as we never saw it -Critical
Original title : The empire of perfection

Realization : Julien Faraut

Scenario : Julien Faraut

Release Date : 11 July 2018

Duration : 1h30
3.5final grade
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