Friday, May 19, 2006

Zidane at Cannes - and maybe in a cinema near you

Image © soccer-europe.comDouglas Gordon's portrait of Zinedine Zidane will premiere at Cannes next week. Big deal you say? But it's not a run of the mill documentary about a footballer. (In fact, I'm not a great fan of football, but I would like to see this film.)

Shot during a Real Madrid-Villarreal game, the camera spends 90 minutes trained exclusively on Zidane. Unlike a normal televised match, you won't see the full context of the other players interacting on the pitch. Instead you'll watch Zidane waiting for a pass, sweating, spitting, ticcing, smiling (just once) and occasionally kicking the ball.

Half time is spent looking at what else happened in the world on 23 April 2005 – the day of the match. Scenes of nature and a car bomb in Najaf (where a bystander happens to be wearing a Zidane top) are amongst the images.

Over the 90 minutes of the game, quotes from Zidane pop up as subtitles every now and again. Otherwise the film is narrative free. Oh, and near the end of the match, Zidane is “sent off after a fracas at the end”. (Update: World Cup. History repeats itself.)

Douglas GordonThe Guardian reviewer, Gary Younge, observed that “it's only towards the end of the film that you realise Beckham and Ronaldo are also on the pitch.” In an interview, Gordon described his film as “a portrait of a man at work”. And it's made Zidane realise how rarely he touches the ball!

Gordon's challenge of sustaining people's interest for 90 minutes will be put to the test as it goes on general release across France after Cannes. Hopefully it will appear at a cinema near you (art houses like QFT and Curzon should pick it up).

Image ©

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