This is 90 minutes (of course) of sheer hell when I saw it – even for my football (if Burnley counts) consultant who I took with me – so boring, at times, that a collective gnawing of arms seemed tempting to suggest. However, it was interesting in its attempt to profile an iconic modern footballer (its release almost as fantastically timed as his head-butt to generate useful publicity).
The filmmakers have art/arthouse credentials, and there is an intense focus on his every move, following throughout the match (Real Madrid/Villareal). He obliges the directors by being sent off near the end – but even this has a strangely passive quality that infects all the action, since he gets randomly involved in someone else’s argument.
It’s coming round to Cornerhouse on 29th September. I’m definitely going to send any of my students who are thinking of doing the Sport and the Media research option (OCR, similar to AQA’s Independent Study) – not because I don’t like them (!) but because I think it has enormous potential for discussion as far as sport and celebrity is concerned. Having seen Sam Taylor-Wood’s portrait of Beckham in the National Gallery (a really, far superior analysis of sports celebrities AND our relationship to them), the Zidane film is limited in its own ‘intelligence’ but something they can use as a case study.
I notice on imdb that it’s compared to ‘Football as Never before’ about George Best – I wonder whether there are any other useful companion pieces this new film could be put with?