Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (Madman)

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If he wasn’ already known as one of the greatest players to have played the game, French soccer star Zinedine Zidane will forever be remembered for “that head but’s that earned him a red card and effectively tumbled France out of last years World Cup. Yet this isn’ an affectionate portrait of the great man, rather it’s a day in the life, Zidane at the office, 91 minutes as he clocks in, playing for his Spanish club side Real Madrid against Villareal in Madrid on the 23rd of April 2005. There are 17 cameras trained on him at all times, capturing every nuance of behaviour to the exclusion of everything else, including the game. Zidane becomes the viewer’ whole world. The game, the outcome, the crowd, other players (unless they come into contact with him) are all incidental. And that’s saying something when you consider he was sharing the stage with the likes of Roberto Carlos, Figo, Beckham and Ronaldo. It’s actually somewhat gruelling, particularly initially as everything seems disjointed. If you’re familiar with watching soccer on TV, it’s narrow focus on Zidane takes some getting used to It’s only in the post 20 minute mark where it begins to work its magic, dropping some poetic quotes via text into the mix and you’re able to separate Zidane from the game itself and focus on the individual, on the predator, on the athlete, on the warrior. A major ingredient in this shift is Scottish band Mogwai who’ snippets of world weary post rock seem to communicate so much emotion. In fact it’s truly masterful the way in which the filmmakers work between score, the crowd, sound of the ball and Zidane’ laboured breathing. There’ one scene in particular where the score is cut on a close up of Zidane’ boots and we hear the crowd screaming, which is then dropped away to solely the sound of him walking on the grass before we’re abruptly cut back into the freneticisim of the game. It’s sublime. Zidane’ a simple, stripped down concept, yet it seems to uncover so much more about the individual than you could ever hope to get through words alone.

Extra Features:
A trailer, bunch of teasers and a short making of doco, where they show the cameras and brag that they were able to get Scorcese’ and Pedro Almovodor’ cameramen for this project.

Bob Baker Fish

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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