John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (2018) Hi Gloss
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (2018) Hi Gloss
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (2018) Hi Gloss

ACMI presents

John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection

Julien Faraut | France | 2018 | M










COVID-19 Upate

Unfortunately due to COVID-related staff shortages, ACMI has had to reduce the operating hours of our cinemas resulting in the cancellation of a number of cinema sessions. We have cancelled the 22 & 31 Jan 7pm John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection sessions. Affected ticketholders will be contacted and refunded directly. Please check your email or contact us if you have any questions. We apologise for the inconvenience and hope to see you again soon.


As much about obsession and cinema as it is sport, director Julien Faraut’s unique storytelling style sheds new light on one of sports most relentlessly documented figures.

A lovely meditation on time and movement, dedication and obsession, image and perception.


“Cinema lies, sport doesn’t,” says the Jean-Luc Godard quote that opens John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection. Immediately the choice of that line tells you everything you need to know about Julien Faraut’s meticulous documentary: it’s about sport, yes, but it’s also about cinema. It begins with kitsch instructional films on how to play tennis by Gil de Kermadec, shot in the 1960s on 16mm. De Kermadec is our entry point as it’s his obsession with tennis, his obsession with capturing it, and his obsession with the man who mastered it, John McEnroe that centres the film.

Considered one of the greatest players of all time, McEnroe’s personal and professional life has been relentlessly captured on screen in documentaries, parodied in comedies, and even displayed in biopics (Shia LaBeouf played him in Borg vs McEnroe [2017]). Yet he has never quite been portrayed like he has in John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection, a wonderfully weird and – at times – Wes Anderson-esque documentary set at the final of the 1984 French Open between McEnroe and Ivan Lendl. Mathieu Amalric’s playful voiceover helps weave the audience in and out of that physical event, with film theory and archived clips creating a truly unique viewing experience unlike any other in the sports film genre.

– Maria Lewis, Assistant Film Curator

Format: DCP
Language: In English and French with English subtitles
Source: Hi Gloss Entertainment
Courtesy: Hi Gloss Entertainment
Runtime: 95 min

Event duration

95 mins



Coarse language


Cinemas, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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