A tennis ball is seen suspended right above the net in the movie Match Point from 2005

Match Point by Woody Allen, United-Kingdom, 2005, IMDb. The screen capture is from the opening sequence.

An off-stage narrator (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) tells the following lines:

The man who said “I’d rather be lucky than good” saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It’s scary to think so much is out of one’s control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net and for a split second it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck it goes forward and you win. Or maybe it doesn’t and you lose.

The sequence is mentionned in Jean Baudrillard’s essay “Ventriloquous Evil” (see previously here):

The is here the principle of a genuine event, of those singular events that challenge globalization (hegemony) at a stroke seizing that power at the high point of its mise en scène, ‘the better to wring its neck’, as Rimbaud (who accomplishes the equivalent of his terrorist act in the field of poetry) would have said. At a single stroke, all the signs are reversed (see also The Temple of the Golden Pavillon, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, ‘Bartleby’, Gilmore, etc.), not through some decision or calculation, nor even by objective chance, like the tennis ball in Woody Allen’s Match Point, hovering in unstable equilibrium on the top of the net: if it falls this side, you win, the other side, you lose everything.


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