Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired U.S. rights to John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection, Julien Faraut’s unconventional feature bio-documentary about the iconic tennis star that had its world premiere this year at the Berlin Film Festival. The pic will now hit theaters in August at New York’s Film Forum, followed by a national expansion.
Narrated by Mathieu Amalric, the film mines a store of 16mm-shot footage of McEnroe during one of his French Open runs — the seven-time Grand Slam winner (and nine in doubles) never won on the clay Paris, reaching the finals just once. Close-ups and slow-motion sequences play — and flashes of his notorious temper tantrums — are interspersed with music by the likes of Sonic Youth, clips from the likes of Raging Bull, and computer animation to help create an immersive look at a driven athlete, a study on the sport of tennis and the human body and movement, and how they intersect with cinema.
Said Faraut: “John McEnroe was a New Yorker in Paris during the French Open, where he had to face a completely new reality. And sometimes disillusions. Clay, closed cinematographers and photographers, versatile audiences, forgetful judge lines and umpires. The Americans will have a great opportunity to appreciate some of the misunderstandings and ambiguities that befell their former champ. Cinema lies not sport.”
William Jehannin and Raphaelle Delauche are producers. The deal was negotiated by Film Constellation on behalf of the filmmakers.