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

Time Comment
1:08 I like that font. Mr C could probably tell me what it is.
1:49 The pattern is making my eyes go funny.
5:09 It would be good if they got him to wear helmet cam.
6:13 He looks a bit grumpy.
7:30 Wait a minute… is David Beckham in this? He was there back then, right?
8:14 Mmm, Frosties.
11:50 So, I always thought football was a lot of running about but he seems to be walking far more than I’d imagine.
14:59 Hey look, that’s a proper football. No Jabulani moments here.
15:44 He speaks!
19:16 Zidane reminds me of someone but I can’t quite think who.
20:34 He drips quite a lot too.
20:54 Hey, that’s Forlan! I know him from the World Cup.
22:29 I like that you can hear the crunching of the grass.
27:05 Why would you want to imagine the tick of a watch? Most annoying noise ever.
32:54 Do they really talk to the ref like that? Who’d be a ref?
34:15 He seems to be getting to the ball a bit more.
38:23 I wish I knew what the score was. I think the other team scored a goal.
40:51 They should do this at half time in every game.
43:18 It feels a lot more lonely than I would have imagined.
51:06 Beckham!!!
58:21 His kit is still quite dazzling white. His colleagues have got a bit more muddy.
1:02:17 GOAL!
1:02:22 He didn’t look very happy about it.
1:04:07 Is 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.
1:06:49 GOAL!
1:06:56 He’s clapping this time. Bit happier.
1:08:09 He touched Beckham!
1:12:05 I like the way the music comes in and out. It puts me in mind of Baz Luhrmann.
1:17:12 Woah. It’s all getting a bit violent now.
1:18:52 Good job he wasn’t substituted at half time, or this would have been a pretty short film.
1:21:39 Smiling and a conversation? It’s like a completely different man.
1:24:33 Yay 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