|Page 1 of 4:||   |
|Index||35 reviews in total|
I can understand why some people would find this film rubbish, but it
really is a fantastic piece of cinema if you just give it a chance.
If what you were expecting was just a montage of Zidane's finest moment this is not what you are looking for. This show's Zidane warts and all - the genius, the aggression, the skill - everything that made him the finest player of our generation.
The title of the film is so apt - it really is a portrait of football's finest "artist" in recent times. It is a little self indulgent, but the cinematography is fantastic and the soundtrack (music and sound) is incredible.
If you have any appreciation for football, Zidane, or even just artistic cinema I'd thoroughly recommend this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are some preliminary things to say about this film: It's not a
classic documentary, like many would expect, also Zidane, reputed to be
pretty reserved, doesn't give insights into his life or personality.
Don't expect interviews. Don't expect commentaries. Don't expect help.
If you're not a football aficionado you will very likely not like this
movie. Just enjoy football in it's purest and most honest way.
This film is more, than anyone could probably ever say about one of the greatest football players the world has seen. Incredible good close-up shots, amazing sound and image quality and a magnificent score make this film a unique experience. Most important of it all this movie gives insight in what's going on in Zidane's head during a match. Quotes of Zidane are printed in the subtitles and help you digest what you see and what you feel. The movie might seem boring at first, but apart from the great scenes one can understand why professional football is more than running and scoring goals. After seeing this movie one can understand why Zidane is such a great player, not only because of his superb technical skills, but also because he is a apt observer and coordinator. This movie makes understanding how football works achievable by those who are not complete football addicts. Supreme filming techniques and the fitting soundtrack - performed by Mogwai - make this movie an experience no one seriously into football should miss.
Zidane, un portrait du 21e siècle offers an unusual and surprisingly
thoughtful experience, providing a sense of the frustration and
isolation of a legendarily talented footballer, but little more.
The film begins with a silent first 15 minutes observing Zidane's skill and movement. It feels rather like you're watching the Skysports player-cam and as such, is a little disappointing. Coupled with the initial jumping back to the perspective of a viewer watching at home, then returning back to the high quality camera POV's, it leaves you somewhat restless, as the director tries to create a hyperbole of space and reality. However, you soon become aware of the human ambiance; Zidane's heavy breathing, feet dragging on the grass like a stag before battle, the visceral crunches of hefty challenges; all creating a very tangible texture.
In a moment after the referee wrongly gives away a penalty, which the opposition score, Zidane approaches and speaks the words "You should be ashamed". Zidane's tone and presence makes this emphatic condemnation almost papal.
There are times in this film when one finds them self checking the time remaining on the DVD player. Whilst being able to appreciate Zidane's awesome touch and effortless ability, the footage is repetitive and too enclosed to really gather a true sense of Zidane's perspective. Those audiences who make it past the 15 minute mark are rewarded when Mogwai's splendid soundtrack kicks in and is complimented by Zidane's subtitled monologue. Here, you really appreciate the fact that they didn't choose an English footballer as their subject. The delicate manner in which french translates, provides a poetic and cinematic syntax. We English are very wasteful with our words and I'm sure if we were hearing David Beckham's thoughts, we would be more spurious at the lack of numerous mentions of "Obviously", "You know" and "fantastic".
At half time the film installs context to the game displaying both violently moving images together with trivial incidents apparently going on elsewhere in the world whilst the game takes place. The intriguing suggestion is that the match, tied with fate, is pointless and memorable like all things.
In truth, after this point, the film has completed it's goal and as such, drags to the finish. The camera work seems dizzying and whilst the intention is to make the viewer feel Zidane's experience, it ultimately fails. Whilst we empathise with his irritation and patience, we are not rewarded like he is, with the thrill of being on the pitch. There is an absence of space and vision, which, would truly mimic his sensation.
Zidane's exit is practically welcome when he is sent off ten minutes before the match finishes, but he leaves with a poetic sense of irony. After a game of fisticuffs, his hot head landing him in trouble like it did at World Cup 2006, we are left with an emotive sense of futility, his sending off - a metaphor for mortality, leaving the pitch to a hero's applause.
I think the film could have benefited from more subtitled speech from Zidane and with the extension of the soundtrack lasting from start to finish. But what hampers this film is it's lack of creating the true experience of space and vision in a football game, in truth, the attempt to re-create Zidane's frustration at not receiving the ball on time and having his passes clumsily lost, is overwhelmed by our frustration at the sense of claustrophobia and detachment.
90 minutes of Zidane playing football, the camera on him mostly, hardly
any dialogue, and the football is sort of peripheral. It was hypnotic
and absorbing, like a modern dance (quite a good sound track) Zidane
watching, Zidane bursting with suppressed energy and anger, Zidane
running, Zidane arguing with the ref, Zidane smacking other players,
Zidane being fouled.
The sound track changed constantly, the raw of the crowd, Zidane scuffing the grass with his boot, Zidane yelling, the thud of 22 pairs of football boots. He hardly talks, smiles rarely, seems to not care about the game, then suddenly does care passionately, maybe a little bit too much, as that got him into trouble at the world cup.
The guys who made this movie got it so wrong. They actually show Zidane
as a tired static player and not the football god he is.
Zidane is my idol for many years and what makes him a great player is: 1. his absolute vision of whats going on on the football field 2. His abilities to make the players around him better.
Yes, he's got amazing control of the ball and elegant movements that wont put to shame even a ballet dancer. But thats not it. For example, to show the amazing abilities of the conductor Zubin Mehta, you wont film him waving his hands for an hour of a silence movie. You must record his orchestra and show the connection between the conductor's brilliance and its outcome on his "TEAM" of musicians. The same goes to Zidan.
It is pretty obvious that the film makers here, do not understand football and what really made Zidane the amazing player he is. They showcase a too long, too static performance, mostly in close ups. Most of the time you don't know where Zidane is located on the pitch, or how does he reacts to the opponents formation or plays.
Sorry. Nice try but the results are poor and boring.
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.
I can see why people had the criticisms of this film.
Reading the title, I think most people expected a clips compilation of his best goals, assists etc. not a moving piece of cinema.
I think this was a brave and ultimately rewarding effort to examine the greatest footballer of our generation in a different way and to enable you to make up your own mind rather than a narrator explaining it for you.
Darius Khondji's cinematography was mind blowing and any of the shots of the film could have made an amazing photo in it's own right. The sound design was phenomenal and if you have fifty pro logic speakers in your sitting room then you will feel the full force of the Bernabeu and Zidane in a way that watching a football match on television never could.
The only thing I can finish with is to say this film must be watched. Mere words can't express the emotions that this film creates.
Zidane: A 21st Century Legend.
On the 23rd April 2005, 22 men came out onto a rectangle of grass in
front of a crowd of tens of thousands. This walk in the park was the
league match between Real Madrid and Vilareal, a game that would see
three goals, several bookings and three red cards before those involved
were allowed to leave the grass.
Audience expectation is a terrible thing and I think it is one reason why so many viewers seemed to have similar issues with this film. Zidane etc was sold as a football film built around the concept of watching a master at work. The trailer said as much and I think a lot of people tuned in for that reason. However this is not really what the film is about because it was not really made as a portrait of the football of Zidane but rather of the art of Zidane. What this means is that the film is often quite "arty" in delivery and this actually gets in the way of the football and prevented me enjoying it consistently on this level.
At times the footage is great because it doesn't really worry about the football to the degree where all shots are wide and tell you what is happening. It gives a range of shots and, despite their grainy nature, the shots of the television for replays is useful. However I did get the impression that Gordon and Parreno were overly conscious about not just making a clever Match of the Day special and thus they did push the art aspect of the film. This is seen in the decision to show replays by filming a TV screen rather than just filming the action in a normal way and playing it back. Likewise blurry footage, fast cuts, the choice of soothing but bland score, the way that the film gets from crowd noise to babbling commentators and the subtitled thoughts of Zidane.
I found this off putting as it seemed forced and seemed to fly in the face of the fact that this was a film (not an installation), had been marketed as a football film and had been built around one of the finest footballers at the time. This is not to say that it is bad because, as an art piece of filming, these parts work well and, in their place, would be create. Just like the football stuff works well and it is only when it mixes with the art stuff that it falls down. So really it is two good projects but the reason it is only so-so is that it doesn't merge them well at all and indeed both aspects take away from one another rather than enhancing the experience.
It is quite dull at times and the lack of clear audience will be an issue. Those coming for the art side will be bored shirtless by some of the "straight" moments where Zidane is just filming making runs off the ball etc, while football fans will be frustrated by some of the filming and the maker's lack of passion for the man's role within the game. Of course having said that, this works the other way as well with, for example, the football crowd enjoying watching Zidane moving, fighting, kicking, failing, winning etc and the art crowd enjoying that aspect. Just a shame that the project could not have delivered consistently in one way (even if that one way encompassed both these factors) rather than making them feel like distinct aims.
While on paper the idea behind Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait might
sound off the wall; 'out there' or quite intriguing, the film is
actually a bit of dud. I use the term 'film' very loosely, Zidane: A
21st Century Portrait is more of a 'piece', an experiment as filed by
Frenchman Philippe Parreno and Scotsman Douglas Gordon who visit the
Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, home of Real Madrid, and shoot French born
of Algerian descent footballer Zinedine Zidane for ninety minutes the
length of a standard league football match. The film is made up of
about three perspectives, each one being cut to when the editors
obviously assume you've had enough of one or the other. One perspective
is the bog standard camera mounted on the gantry as seen through
television; another is a ground level camera focusing on Zidane in
close up-ish format with the third being from a third person
perspective, watching the match on an actual television monitor, pixels
Do you remember, or have you even heard of, a function called 'Player Cam'? It's a gimmick BskyB used to run, or perhaps still do, on their Sky Sports coverage that enables the viewer to switch to a certain channel and watch a designated player for as long as the directors choose as a certain camera stays on him. For a lot of people, this will be nothing new or particularly interesting. To be blunt, the experiment doesn't work here. The title of the piece is Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait with 'portrait' being the important word. The makers are trying to create some sort of work of art, some sort of painting or sculpture of a person (Zidane) that they clearly admire and feel should be captured in an artistic manner. It doesn't work through the medium of cinema, and this is the evidence it doesn't.
When you go to a gallery, you don't have something like Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey playing, on mute, on a screen in the corner for people to observe for as long as they wish amidst all the other works of art, so why contaminate things that belong in a gallery with things that belong on a cinema screen? Principally, what's wrong is that the two directors can pick and choose which match or performance out of Zidane they actually want to deliver to us. If Zidane had been substituted after fifty minutes in this match or had been seriously injured after ten and brought off, we'd never have even seen THIS particular match/performance/result of the experiment and they would've had to have tried again some other time. Thus, it renders a lot of the 'deeper thinking' ideas displayed in the film a little silly because 'this day' could have been any day. This creates a problem and exposes a flaw in the experiment, the subject of the work of art is free-thinking and unaware of the artist thus every time the artist will attempt to 'capture' the subject, a different result will be the result of the attempt.
In simpler terms, when Monet painted 'The Water Lilies' or Da Vinci captured the smiling woman that is the 'Mona Lisa', they had a subject or physical shape that was either set in stone and was always going to look exactly the way it is, it just needed an artist to implant their own style on it, OR they were able to direct a live subject and position the subject as well as capture specific emotions from them in the manner they desired. With footballers, the theory fails. You can never capture a true representation of a footballer because they'll always perform differently in different matches. An example might be German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.
Two matches could be used to 'capture' Lehmann: the 2006 Champions League final in which Lehmann starts the game before committing a foul and is consequently sent off after 18 minutes after much controversy. Then there's the Germany - San Marino match in which he stood in goal and did very, very little for 90 minutes as his team up the other end smack thirteen past a hapless opponent. If you were making Lehmann: A 21st Century Portrait, which do you select to 'capture' the player? Does it even matter? We don't need post-Warhol artists (not filmmakers) to display the 'quality' of certain players in this manner because the exercise is futile and will never capture a 'true' portrait.
For all the talk via some subtitles within the piece about thinking outside the boundaries and of the 'bigger picture', there is really very little going. When the directors assume us to be getting a little tired of certain shots or subjects, they'll cut to blinding floodlights as they zone down onto us and at one point, the camera takes an odd detour up some stairs to an upper tier to capture the match from another level. But these are cutaways, distractions from the gimmick that is Zidane himself, captured in all his glory as a supposed artist himself. Additioanlly, the directors get the dramatic finale to the match they probably craved. But where does it all go? Could you feasible make 'Beckham: A 21st Century Portrait'? (who was actually playing in this match) or 'Ronaldo: A 21st Century Portrait'? Or maybe you could mix it up and follow a referee for the duration of a match. Where would it all end and how long would it be until everyone realises what a daft exercise it really is? Not long at all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Whilst I would not recommend this film to many people I still feel that
what it has to offer on a purely technical level is more than many,
many films out there.
Let's start with the cinematography. In charge of the look is Darius Khondji, a DOP who I feel ranks as one of the greatest of all time. His painstaking attention to detail and often uncompromising perfectionism heightened my curiosity with this film because he would have had no control over the lighting. Which is a challenge for someone who usually has every lighting rig available at his disposal. His choices were limited to equipment and film stock, as well as the angles chosen to focus on Zidane. The result is beautiful. The colours, the framing, the movement. It is impeccable and compliments the concept of the film perfectly.
Then there is the sound and music. To say this is an immersive experience is an understatement. The diegetic sound and Foley work is so vivid that you feel part of the action. It is as close to being in a stadium such as the Bernabeu without actually being there. You hear Zidane every now and again ask for the ball, call a player, mention something to the referee. And as Zidane is so quiet, when he does utter a word for some reason you are compelled. When the ref makes a howler of a decision to give the opposition a penalty he eloquently says; "You should be ashamed." It's a wonderful moment, and it is these few seconds of drama that are sprinkled throughout the 90 minutes that keep you watching.
Mogwai's score is as beautiful as everyone has said, supporting the images and saving periods of the game where little is happening.
But the centrepiece is Zidane himself. I was born in 1983 so never got to watch Platini, Pele, Best or Cruijff. I would not dare call anyone the greatest player of all time because it is such a subjective and immeasurable claim to make. But having watched football for so long, I would have no hesitation in regarding Zidane as the greatest player I have ever seen. His vision, skill, control, strength. No player of his generation has ever come close to him. I have never seen someone so relaxed on the ball. He could beat any player, and more to the point would see passes no one else on the pitch would see. And when you consider his achievements, the World Cups, the goals (in World Cup and CHampions League finals) the infamous dismissals. Hell, he has seen and done it all.
So in this game, even at the end of his playing career, he is still beating players, setting up goals, and not once did he miscontrol the ball. Which is astounding. Every ball played to him, along on the ground or in the air, whether it was perfectly weighted or dished out to him too hard and a few yards away was controlled with such deftness. I couldn't actually believe it at times.
A number of Real Madrid players were under immense scrutiny during this period in the club's history. The Galacticos (Carlos, Beckham, Raul, Ronaldo and Zidane) were not winning any trophies and the press were quick to point out their waning powers. The performances were lacklustre and many questioned their passion having won all there is to win in football. Yet in this performance all I saw was Zidane running constantly, challenging for headers, being incredibly disciplined with his tackles and positioning, ordering players to mark, constantly asking for the ball. He may not have had the pace to beat players like he once did at Juventus and his early Madrid days, but when there was space to exploit he took the opportunity.
I agree there are dull moments, but it is the nature of the beast. I think it speaks wonders that in a relatively low profile game with average passages of football Zidane can still keep you intrigued. From the way he drags the tip of his right foot along the ground as he walks to the way he looks around for other players he remains compelling viewing. There are few, if any other players who could have achieved this.
The highlight for me came towards the end of the game. For well over an hour you saw the same stern, emotionless face on Zidane. He barely reacted to being fouled, or conceding a goal, setting up a goal. But then Roberto Carlos smiled at him and made a joke that made Zidane's face light up with such a beautiful smile. It is the most endearing moment in the film that could only be captured off the wall. It is so natural and revealing that it endears you. It is a lesson to all footballers. No matter what the stakes are in football the most important thing to remember is to enjoy yourself. It is just a game after all. And with this portrait of a magician, you realise just how beautiful it can be.
|Page 1 of 4:||   |
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|