Zidane, un portrait du 21e siècle (2006) Directed by Douglas Gordon & Philippe Parreno





(Review originally written at 31 October 2007)

Just like every football fan, I have to say that Zinédine Zidane really was one of the best players of this and the last century. I would often watch a France game, purely because of Zidane and I wanted to see him do his magic. Even if the game wasn't very good and the team wasn't playing very well, Zidane would always show something special and amazing. His skill and touch was always amazing. Whenever he had the ball if was something special and you just knew something great could happen at any given moment. He doesn't look and move like a very technical player but he really was one of the most technical midfielder of the last few decades. He had a great and impressive but also very successful career, especially with his national team. Every world cup or European cup he participated in, he was one of the best players of the tournament and he won both the World- and European Cup with his country France. He played an important role in his country victories and eventual win of the tournaments, with his two goals in the 1998 finale against Brazil of course as his most memorable achievement. No way that a dumb head-but against Marco Materazzi in the 110th minute of the 2006 World Cup final against Italy, which also was his last game out of his career, should overshadow this great sportsman's career.

But as much as I adore Zidane as a player he really isn't a charismatic person or player to watch. His face doesn't ever show any emotions, which sorts of makes you wonder why the film-makers he was such a good subject for this cinematic movie-making approach. After about 30 minutes you've already had it with watching this movie. Most of the time he doesn't even run, he just walks and stands because obviously he isn't on the ball all of the time. After a while the approach of the movie becomes a real bore to watch.

It doesn't show anything of Zidane as a person and it also most certainly doesn't show anything of Zidane's qualities as a football player. Therefor what's the point of this 'documentary'? This movie only serves an artistic purpose. Although this also doesn't completely work out due to the subject Zidane. So it's a sort of vicious circle. The approach of the documentary doesn't really work out due to Zidane and Zidane isn't presented in his best or most insightful way due to the approach of the documentary. It doesn't do much credit to the exceptional great player Zidane was. On top of the, the approach from this documentary isn't even original. It was used before by German filmmaker Hellmuth Costard, for his documentary "Fußball wie noch nie", following Manchester United player George Best in real time, during a complete football match.

What was highly annoying to me was that most of the sounds were obviously put at a later stage underneath the movie. Some, if not all, sounds were obviously fabricated and recorded in a studio, even Zidane's own breathing and on pitch talking. Unless you believe he was really wearing a microphone during the match...The chanting the running on the grass, the kicking of the ball, all off these sounds sound so completely fabricated. It's like listening to a radio play at times.

Some of the trivial facts presented in this movie are really ridicules and don't serve a point at all, also not in the least because they have absolutely nothing to do with the subject of the movie.

If you want to see the qualities of a player you don't point several camera's just on his face. He should see a wider picture to get a clear view and understanding of his positioning, his passing, his control, his overview, knowing exactly the positions of your teammates and opponents, knowing when to give the right ball. After all, football is still a team sport, no matter how great as an individual you are. The game they follow him also isn't much special. It's just an average Primera Division game of Zidane's Real Madrid against Villareal, in which Zidane even gets send off with a red card before the end of the match. Also sorts of makes you wonder if the makers regret picking this one game to follow him.

Has some artistic value but overall really doesn't do enough credit to Zizou.

4/10

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