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Zidane, un portrait du 21e siècle (2006)

Football match Real Madrid vs. Villareal, April 23, 2005, from the perspective of soccer superstar Zinedine Zidane.
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Football match Real Madrid vs. Villareal, April 23, 2005, from the perspective of soccer superstar Zinedine Zidane.

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24 May 2006 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Zidane - Ein Porträt im 21. Jahrhundert  »

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Wasted opportunity
25 July 2007 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

A poor effort from Douglas Gordon. For me this does a number of things. It shows up the easily neglected art of the sports coverage directors that broadcast games on television. It highlights the potential for charlatan artists simply filming anything in an unusual manner or outside its usual context and slapping an 'art' label on it. Worst of all though it squanders a wonderful opportunity to really explore the opaque world of one of history's most introverted, inscrutable sportsmen: this surely the purpose of the film, with its wistful, resonant Mogwai score.

One exception to this is the wonderful sound design. Selim Azzazi's team have worked a miracle, isolating individual noises and chat during the game, weaving them into an ever-varied sonic kaleidoscope. Amazing.

The joy of watching a fine footballer is what he is able to do in context. There is no context here, Zidane isolated in space, if not in time (depite repeated subtitles concerning the suspension of 'real time'). This might have worked - there are occasions where Zidane's stony face in front of a crowd reacting to something off-screen has an appeal. However Gordon does see fit to include TV footage to contextualise key events - goals, cards - and consequently the spellcasting is flawed. There is also no craftsmanship involved: we are told that there are 17 cameras but variation relies on shifting focus. Add to this a lack of decisiveness over whether to focus on Zidane's feet - his art - or to cover the man, and I was left feeling none the wiser as to what makes Zidane tick. I wish I'd simply seen the game on Spanish TV. 3/10


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