Saturday 20 October, Cinema 1, 6:20pm
In his prime, tennis champion John McEnroe was legendary not only for his brilliance but also for his petulance, tending to use the court as a personal stage for his displays of unrestrained self. With narration by Mathieu Amalric, Julien Faraut’s film uses footage of McEnroe – pitted against Ivan Lendl in 1984 – and examines the player’s relationship to the camera, which McEnroe treats at once as an additional opponent and as a supporting actor in his personal psychodrama. But this is also a testament to filmmaker Gil de Kermadec, whose career recording the game was itself a devoted pursuit of the ineffable. Even if you’re not a tennis lover, Faraut has created a fascinating essay on film, spectatorship and, yes, the meaning of perfection.
*Please note that free Red Membership tickets are not available for the BFI's London Film Festival.
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