The French Open tennis tournament is now underway so it is the perfect time to check out the documentary from William Klein, "The French". Klein was the first filmmaker granted unfettered access behind-the-scenes in the year 1981. Some of the players featured include John McEnroe, Ilie Nastase, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Yannick Noah, and Bjorn Borg. This is a fly-on-the-wall doc so there is no narrator or on-camera presenter.

What is surprising, now, is the way fans and press were allowed such easy access to the players. In one scene, fans are swarming around Jimmy Connors on the court to obtain an autograph. He has to continually remind the crowd not to push and shove each other, while he tries to ensure his own safety. Another player shouts profanity at officials as fans are grabbing his clothing. It's amazing to watch.

Klein took his camera into the locker room. While Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl insist the camera leaves before they undress, other players are nonchalant. Just a warning that there is some nudity.

Originally released in 1982, the doc is now streaming on Amazon Prime or the Kino Lorber channel. The French Streaming Link


Angela K. Peterson
Drama Movies
Editor