SA Movie Choice: 'Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait' is an artistic, philosophical take on the beautiful game

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2006)

The spiel
It can feel tedious, waiting and wanting, even boring at times — players are only on the ball for a few minutes at a time over 90 minutes, anyway. But for students and fans of the game, "Zinedine Zidane" offers what no other soccer movie can: a precise, impressionistic expression of a celebrity-hero on the field.

We’re willing to follow Zidane walk, jog, walk some more, sprint (seldomly) so closely because the TV cameras never gave us that courtesy. The 17 synchronized cameras catch his every move, trying to decipher Zidane the player, bringing us closer, closer, closer. It’s a voyeuristic undertaking that simultaneously recalls the childhood of seeing your favorite player as close as possible: to be him or her, if you could.

That he lined up against Villarreal is irrelevant. The score, too, irrelevant. That he was sent off in the 89th minute is irrelevant but for that it gives us another few drops of insight to him and takes away a few more minutes for the audience to act out its love, admiration — whatever you want to call it — for him.

Unlike other documentaries that make meaning from players and games themselves, Zidane is truly a portrait in the truest sense of the word: take a seat as if you were at a museum and be moved by the picture. Try and make something out of this piece of enigmatic aestheticism, decipher the je ne sais quoi in Zidane’s strides, if you can.

Best lines(s)
N/A. This movie could may as well be silent. French speakers will appreciate Zidane’s recollections that appear as subtitles throughout.

The backstory
Inspired by Francisco de Goya and Diego Velázquez’s portraits in Madrid’s Prado museum, director Douglas Gordon and Phillipe Parreno wanted to make a film that followed a protagonist without telling the story — a portrait, cinematized. It wasn’t Douglas’ first experiment in the artistic realm; in college, he slowed down Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho to a 24-hour length film.

Did you know?
During halftime, the movie turns from the Santiago Bernabeu toward world news on April 23rd, 2004. In the photograph detailing the aftermath of a car bombing in Iraq, the figure of a man seen from the back wears a Zidane jersey.

3 comments about "SA Movie Choice: 'Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait' is an artistic, philosophical take on the beautiful game".
  1. frank schoon, March 23, 2020 at 11:19 a.m.

    This video is perhaps nice for ZZ fan,but what I look for is not that evident or in fact not shown much at all, or just little in this video.

    Zidane, is like Valderama, Xavi, Iniesta, or Pirlo, for example, players who don't  employ acceleration of movement or sprints for they employ passing as to accelerate the game or tempo. These types are not fast players,but more thinkers and employ technique to be of use for their team. What i'm also indirectly implying is that ,the less speed or running a player ,the more he thinks ,and uses technique. This is why they are the type of players who see speed in the manner of positioning off the ball, and more importantly allowing the ball to do the running, not the player.

    It is players like that who need to be surrounded with other good technical players to be effective. What  I mean by that, is that you need good technical 'versed' players who know how to pass the ball to him, at what speed, to which side of him, and to pass in a manner that allows continuity of play for him in order for the follow up movement employing the least amount of touches on the ball without reducing the speed of play; And he HAS the ability to correct or improve the motion, the direction of the ball which could even impove his movement with the ball and thereby not have to reduce the tempo of game.... 

    This is why when you watch Zidane then make an effort to LOOK WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND TOUCH ON THE BALL. 

  2. frank schoon, March 23, 2020 at 12:01 p.m.

    The problem I find is that our soccer does not produce players  like that due to our style of play which rely more on running ,fighting duels,physical play. We do not play in a manner that let the ball do the running, for it requires more technical ability in our players. When you rely upon these types players, who are not that technical you, in effect, have less of 'thinking' game, less reliance on details, or the finer aspects of the game. These types of players ,'Zidane' types, as you look at their backround of how they learned to play ,you will find one thing they all have in common, is 'street -pickup' soccer, where they learned to survive in small spaces, and more...This is one the reasons that after 50years ,even by law of average , we don't produce these of players.

    his is why we need to take an 'overview' of how we train and develop our players for we're getting and producing players that don't display the finer elements of the game.... Looking at the women and men's NT we don't produce players with the 'finer' velour touch. And sofar the women are able to get away with playing a very physical, athletic type of game due to the low level quality of the women's game. But with the man, there is no way we can rely and employ those baser elements, the women can use, for in the men's you need a lot more than that- technique and brains.... 

    This is why we seriously have to look at how to improve our game, adding and changing the formats of thinking in our training/ developing of the players. That also implies ,especially now, to bring in players like a Valderama, Zidane, Xavi, Pirlo ,etc those types that can  TEACH, DEMONSTRATE, give INSIGHTS, about the finer aspects which we as produce in our system of playing and development. Our DA ,ECNL, or sending players to Europe isn't going to fill that gap that we  so sorely need in improving our player development.





  3. Derek Liecty, April 12, 2020 at 1:36 p.m.

    I'm sorry.  This film is touted on the CD cover as "The Greatest Football Film Ever Made."  I have been around soccer for seventy-eight years.  This is the dumbest, most stupid movie I have ever seen.  If you are supposed to see what a great positioner he is it does not work.  Plenty of views of Zidane's sweaty face and he touches the ball about three times.  If you have to pay for this film, don't do it.

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