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ZZ Top or ZZZZZ?,
This review is from: Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait [DVD]  (DVD)
If you like this title you may also like... Sky Sports Interactive's Player Cam.
It shouldn't work. Maybe even the most ardent football fan might cower at the idea of watching an average La Liga match from a couple of years ago in its entirety. But it does work. Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait manages, against all the odds, to be as brilliant as it is pretentious. It captures arguably the finest footballer of his generation in action. It's not Zidane's finest display, true, but there are glimpses of his genius with a football and an insight into the temperament which would ultimately bring his career to a less than glorious finale at the 2006 World Cup just over a year after this match was filmed. In truth there are segments of this film where what you see differs little from what you might watch while accessing the aforementioned Sky Sports Player Cam for a Premiership match, albeit with a superior director at the helm and a superior talent in focus, but the point remains: it's not going to be to everyone's tastes.
The audio is a different matter entirely: every spit, grunt, drag of the foot and, yes, kick of the ball is captured with impressive clarity, as well as the rare occasions where Zidanne speaks to his team mates, or tells the referee he should be ashamed of himself in a calm manner which those of us who see Wayne Rooney week in week out will not be accustomed to. At one point the noise from the crowd disappears (presumably due to technical trickery rather than boredom on the crowd's part) and all that is left are the sounds of the players on the pitch. The Mogwai soundtrack, while far from being the band's best output in its own right, unsurprisingly lends the action a huge sense of atmosphere; at times during the second half, such is its trance-like qualities, you might find yourself drifting off, but not for the wrong reasons.
Also assisting the superb audio are various snippets of Zidane's thoughts appearing on the screen as text. Perhaps not quite as profound as Zidane's countryman Eric Cantona, these musings nevertheless add much to the ongoing on-field action. It's these moments, where the action, music and musings come together, which are the film's finest and you're left wishing for more of them. During the half-time interval, instead of watching players sucking on oranges, imagery of other action taking place that day is shown. But this other action isn't the highlights of Barcelona's match, it's a host of news stories from around the world on that day - including floods and a boy in the middle of scenes of chaos in Iraq in a shirt bearing Zidane's name on the back - before the second half starts with Zidane asking, 'what could be more important than a walk in the park?'.
Is it art? Yes. Is it entertaining? Yes. Does David Beckham - Zidane's Hollywood-bound, attention-hoover of a team mate at the time - try to hijack the film all the time? Amazingly, no.