Zidane on Blu-ray

Thanks to the unerring eye of our FBE crew chief Coleslaw, an all-regions Blu-ray copy of the 2006 film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait arrived in the KRK box last week. I hadn't noticed it was available and as a result, stole it instantly. For whatever reason this French-Icelandic feature-documentary has never received a DVD release in North America... even though it would seem a good fit for the growing legions of football fans on this side of the Atlantic.

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait has been hailed as “a vital portrait of a modern athlete”, “a celebration of the body in motion” and “skillfully realized” by a number of critics. Shot during the April 23, 2005 match between his Real Madrid team and Villarreal, the film makers utilized 17 cameras trained exclusively on the soccer legend for 92 minutes, roughly the length of the match itself. The audience is witness to Zidane's singular actions throughout rather than the match itself, which makes for an unusual mix of sports movie and art film. Instead of telling a story with an arc of triumph or loss, the film makers seem more intent on capturing the ambience of the experience. The roar of the crowd accompanies the varied high-def visuals, underscored by a minimalist musical soundtrack by the composer Mogwai (?) and a few subtitled quotes from Zidane himself.

Based on what I'd read about this film over the years, I'll admit to having some pretty high expectations of it, but I still wasn't fully prepared for the profound effect Zidane would have on me. It was, without a doubt, the most mind-numbingly dull, consistently annoying and unsatisfying wastes of time I've ever sat through. Watching a single athlete for the duration of a game might have been an interesting concept in theory but in execution, it's fucking excruciating. The opening 5 minutes is a nauseating pixelated visual nightmare that simply won't end. It just wouldn't end.... The music by Mogwai is a new-age aural assault that would likely give Bill Frissell an aneurism. Quite frankly, I'd rather listen to 10 hours of whale-song than hear another Mogwai composition. Zidane himself is nearly expressionless throughout, making the whole concept a giant waste of time. Surely to God somebody noticed this during the year-long editing process. Anyone? No? Is it just me, or is this monumentally  boring? That had to have come up.

I should acknowledge here that most art-installation video work (which is probably a better description for Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait than the term “film”is) will find its champions and detractors lining up in opposing camps. With enough weed, I'm sure you could get into the rhythm of the piece, although in hindsight, I'm thinking two to three hits of acid might be a better choice. That said, I could also get into an episode of So You Think You Can Dance provided I was stoned out of my magic gourd, so that's hardly an answer. Zidane was just too pretentious an undertaking for my craw to absorb. I nearly leaped out of my chair the few times that Zidane's face cracked and spent the rest of the time grasping for anything that would quell the never-ending, repetitive tedium of 92 minutes spent staring at another human whose face has the emotional range of an Easter Island statue.

Thanks to Zidane, I have a splitting headache, despise the French, and hate soccer again. It's a stupid sport where fuck-all happens. As you can see, the Blu-ray has “The Greatest Film About Football Ever Made” festooned all over the front cover, which reminded me of a Coleslaw comment about another film from about a year ago.

I'll trade you back for the Graphic Sexual Horror DVD and throw in the Elvis boxset I took in August Joe. Please?



the coelacanth said...

one reason i'm happy that i don't have a blu-ray player: i'll never be tempted to bring this home.

re: that dvd trade: never. gsh is currently our most popular title.

Canadian Pharmacy said...

I adored the film for its technical virtuosity and messages that seemed to send my father liked to see a great play up close and personal. So if you love football or not this film is sure to interest you.

La Sporgenza said...

Well there you go - a fan from the "liked it" camp. Zidane had to have admirers with all the solid press it received, although I'm slightly suspicious of the "Pharmacy" angle. It was certainly different, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Thanks for the input, CP.

Pet Carriers said...

I also think that this film will never be released in the U.S. because the public has no general knowledge of football or the interest to be a financial idea.

flash banner said...

I was not entirely sure what I see when I go to see Zidane, for a theatrical release, which has been by far the most bizarre court (no pun intended) that had everything.

seo packages said...

Zidane was just too pretentious an undertaking for my craw to absorb. I nearly leaped out of my chair the few times that Zidane's face

LED Grow Lights said...

I'm from Algeria and really wish he played for us! Although he never would have become the enigma that we was. In my opinion the best player ever