Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

Published July 4, 2010

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

Film info

  • Title Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
  • Directors Douglas Gordon, Philippe Parreno
  • Year 2006
  • Run time 1hr 31m
  • Genre Documentary
  • Tagline The beautiful game

The film was made by training 17 cameras, under the supervision of acclaimed cinematographer Darius Khondji, solely on footballer Zinédine Zidane over the course of a single match between Real Madrid and Villareal. Zidane himself recounts, in voice-over, what he can and cannot remember from his matches. Magnificently edited and accompanied by a majestic score from Scottish rock heroes Mogwai, this is not only the greatest football movie ever made, but also one of the finest studies of man in the workplace, an ode to the loneliness of the athlete and the poise and resilience of the human body.

Live Blog

1:08I like that font. Mr C could probably tell me what it is.
1:49The pattern is making my eyes go funny.
5:09It would be good if they got him to wear helmet cam.
6:13He looks a bit grumpy.
7:30Wait a minute… is David Beckham in this? He was there back then, right?
8:14Mmm, Frosties.
11:50So, I always thought football was a lot of running about but he seems to be walking far more than I’d imagine.
14:59Hey look, that’s a proper football. No Jabulani moments here.
15:44He speaks!
19:16Zidane reminds me of someone but I can’t quite think who.
20:34He drips quite a lot too.
20:54Hey, that’s Forlan! I know him from the World Cup.
22:29I like that you can hear the crunching of the grass.
27:05Why would you want to imagine the tick of a watch? Most annoying noise ever.
32:54Do they really talk to the ref like that? Who’d be a ref?
34:15He seems to be getting to the ball a bit more.
38:23I wish I knew what the score was. I think the other team scored a goal.
40:51They should do this at half time in every game.
43:18It feels a lot more lonely than I would have imagined.
58:21His kit is still quite dazzling white. His colleagues have got a bit more muddy.
1:02:22He didn’t look very happy about it.
1:04:07Is it because he didn’t actually get to score and just set it up? I never thought about that before. Poor people that do the crosses and get none of the glory.
1:06:56He’s clapping this time. Bit happier.
1:08:09He touched Beckham!
1:12:05I like the way the music comes in and out. It puts me in mind of Baz Luhrmann.
1:17:12Woah. It’s all getting a bit violent now.
1:18:52Good job he wasn’t substituted at half time, or this would have been a pretty short film.
1:21:39Smiling and a conversation? It’s like a completely different man.
1:24:33Yay for Beckham to the rescue! What do you mean this is a film about Zidane??


Does this even count as a film? I wasn’t sure, because it doesn’t seem very film-like, but the BBC said it was a film. I saw people talking about this in our Sidepodcast comments, and thought I’d have a look, now I am an expert on all things football.

Considering the premise - watching one man jog about a football field for 90 minutes - this was surprisingly watchable. I have to admit that I was multi-tasking, I couldn’t have simply stared at the screen for that long, but even so, I did enjoy it. It was certainly an added insight into football that you wouldn’t really get any other way.

Rating: 3 / 5

← Previous Lethal Weapon
Next → Big Fish