In 1981, Roland-Garros management offers William Klein the exclusive opportunity to film the tournament. As a tennis fan, the photographer accepts without hesitation and directs The French, a mythic documentary. Nearly 35 years later, In the French presents a con- temporary snapshot of a stadium that has gone through major changes—yet the Roland Garros DNA carries on with passion, anxiety and joy. The greatest tennis generation since 1981 is immor- talized by an outstanding cast: Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Murray, Tsonga, Serena Williams…In the French is a story of the yellow ball and the evolu- tion of this Grand Slam tournament.
FOCUS ON a Decisive Encounter
“I remember, it was New York City in 1998. I was a fashion model on my way to a casting for an adver- tising campaign for Barney’s. Crossing the street at 62nd, I ran into a tall thin man with wild gray hair hidden behind a camera. He shouts loudly over the honking horns, gesturing as if he was directing the crowd. At his side is a bare breasted actor. He looks at me, we speak. It’s William Klein filming Le Messie. We laugh…we chat…he’s possessed, talks a lot and is rigorous. Fashion, cinema, sports…and the conversation turns to tennis and Roland Garros. He filmed the heros of my youth, Borg, McEnroe, Navratilova, Noah…He knows by heart the odor of the clay, the size of the central court, the light in pathways under the blazing sun or rain, the panoramic shots in the locker room, still shots towards defeat and a traveling camera towards victory. I am terribly jealous. In the French comes into my life.” -Geraldine Maillet