Perfect follows the Canadian synchronised swimming team beyond the beauty, to the brawn it takes to qualify for Rio 2016.
The first thing that strikes us about Perfect is the visual quality of the work. It compiles shots with a rare precision and an often impressive, at times even poetic, composition. Next, we find ourselves following the filmmaker’s dynamic and effective narrative choreography with great interest, built around the team’s journey to the Olympics. While this narrative succeeds in building suspense that the simplest Google search can easily undo, it’s the reflections from the athletes and their coach that fascinate and move us, notably due to their frankness. This documentary shines a light on both collective and individual perseverance following a failure that seems unjustified. It also shows the complexity and beauty of questioning ourselves, embracing our differences and trying to express our humanity in everything we do.
As the Tokyo Games approach, and with thousands of Quebeckers cheering on millionaire athletes on skates in recent weeks, this look at the difficult and noble aspects of amateur athletics seems particularly apt.
Born in France and living in Montreal since 2009, Jérémie Battaglia became known through his photographic and video work on the student movement of 2012 in Québec. After directing several webdocumentaries for the National Film Board of Canada and participating in the creation of Télé-Québec's La Fabrique culturelle, he focused on the making of his first feature documentary, Perfect, a film that follows the path of the Canadian National Artistic Swimming Team as they prepare for the Rio Games. He has since directed Le frère, a short film mixing documentary and animated manga, as well as two documentary films for Télé-Québec. He is currently working on his next feature film, Une jeunesse française, on young men of North African origin who face bulls in a traditional sport. Its documentary approach is driven by an empathic listening to its protagonists and a strong visual aesthetic.