Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
Scottish artist Douglas Gordon (famed for his 24-hour version of Hitchcock’s Psycho) and his French collaborator Philippe Parreno follow in the footsteps of Hellmuth Costard’s 1970 film Football as Never Before - which profiled George Best in a game between Manchester United and Coventry - in making a movie focusing on a footballer at work. With the advent of PlayerCam, giving audiences at home the ability to focus on one player on the field, the question that immediately comes to mind is ‘do we really need a feature length movie focusing on an overpaid sportsman strutting his stuff?’ On the evidence of Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, the answer is yes! Zidane is depicted as a bull in the ring, his nasal flaring and sweat poring like a monsoon from his bald head - a head that in the World Cup Final so explosively executed the Glasgow kiss. Yet to talk about this movie in the context of Germany 2006 and even as a sports movie is to do these directors a disservice. It’s no mistake that this game between Real Madrid and Villarreal takes place in Madrid, a city that Velazquez made his home. Zidane, also in 1998, when guiding France to the World Cup, displaced philosopher Albert Camus as the most famous and loved French man of Algerian extraction. As far as these filmmakers are concerned, Zidane, especially in the moments of tedium, is the modern day ‘Outsider’ in the true Camusian sense. As such this movie is more an analysis of the immigrant experience than of a footballer.