Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
The Making Of The West Wing
Subscribe To Empire Today
Save money and get 12 issues for only £25
Go Think Big
Helping young people achieve their career dreams
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Zinedine Zidane.
Douglas Gordon
Philippe Parreno.
Running Time
95 minutes

3 Star Empire Rating
Way He Looks, The
4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Book Of Life, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Björk: Biophilia Live
4 Star Empire Rating

Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
Zizou and his mad skillz

submit to reddit

Documentary focussing on the footballing career and skills of the great French legend.


It’s been done before — Hellmuth Costard focused solely on George Best playing against Coventry in his 1971 avant-garde offering, Football Like Never Before. But this 17-camera portrait of the artist as an ageing star still captures the magnetism and balletic genius of a player whose reputation will surely survive the naysaying of holier-than-thou commentators following his World Cup 2006 dismissal.
What’s so striking about this compelling collage is Zizou’s expressionless concentration, which seems to isolate him from his Real Madrid team-mates. And it’s this emotional control that makes his  involvement in a penalty-area scrum so surprising and his dispatch to the dressing-room so iconically tragic. Definitely one for footie fans, but probably not for the uninitiated. 

Technically, this documentary draws attention to itself far too often with its tricksy shifts between camera angles and distances. But, as a study in sporting concentration and an avant-garde experiment in spatial disorientation, it's pretty damn impressive.

Reviewed by Patrick Peters

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
Empire Star Rating

A 21st century yawn

An interesting experiment – focussing entirely on just one player during a football match so as to understand his decision making, his skill, his athleticism, indeed his very presence – doesn’t really pan out in practice. For a start, the match in question (a 2005 meet between Real Madrid and Villareal) is not an interesting one, which even resulted in Zidane being sent off. And then of course there’s the problem with the very expressionless quality of Zinedane Zidane, a ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by RJNeb2 at 09:29, 20 April 2014 | Report This Post

Hints of Koyaanisqatsi?

Personally I'm not a fan of football. The game itself I find fairly interesting but the hooliganism and hype that comes along with it angers me. However, Zidane is one of the only footballers I've ever had much respect for - which is the reason I chose to watch this film. And what a great decision! Your average film-goer would most probably hate this film. It seems to lack purpose, plot or structure. However, if one can appreciate the technicalities of the film, the genius of the sound and... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by armandarymusic at 20:11, 05 September 2010 | Report This Post

football zzz boring ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by willchadwick at 19:27, 02 October 2008 | Report This Post


This could only really be appreciated by a football afficiondo as you really have to understand the importance of Zidane within the game. Given that, the effect is supremely enigmatic interspersed with moments of brilliance, humour and folly. The use of sound really keeps you in the moment and this could possibly be the ultimate tribute to a truly great footballer. As a film in its own right it doesn't stand for much although there is a certain hypnotic quality to it which is hard to pin down... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by qualidad at 12:11, 18 June 2007 | Report This Post


I love football and the excitement it generates, and I love Zidane but if you haven't yet found the cure for insomnia then watch this. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by zuzino at 19:09, 05 March 2007 | Report This Post

ZIdane: A 21st Century Portrait

A strange, distant yet utterly fascinating look at the greatest footballer of the last 20 years. Not since Diego Maradona has there been a player of such grace, influence and sheer unadulterated talent. Here we see Zidane in all his balletic glory. From the sublime beauty of his football to the unbridled rage that lurks beneath his unbroken exterior, this is an essential yet fleeting experience for any fan who wishes to view the great gallic genius one last time. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Eomer_King at 23:14, 22 January 2007 | Report This Post

Remarkable twist!

I have read several reviews around on the net and I can't belive that no-one even mentions the half time break which features other events that happened on the day the match took place. The film is not as much about Zidane as it is about importance to the individual and events being remembered or forgotten. The film is not a portrait of ZZ but of the 21st century. Can't remember the exact line but it says aolong the lines of 23 April, an ordinary day, will events be remembered or forgotten? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by banyancafe at 14:41, 05 October 2006 | Report This Post

The Dulling of Genius

I've never been to a film where so many people have walked out of the cinema due to utter boredom. It took an uninspiring game and focused on what amounted to nothing. I was certain that this would be enjoyable, but it was a self-indulgent study in camera work albeit with a cracking soundtrack that led you to believe that something inspiring was about to happen. A shame...since the man's life is exciting, his achievements unsurpassed and he frankly deserved better than this shoddy avant-garde tr... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Fatty at 18:58, 30 September 2006 | Report This Post

You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list

Empire Meets Jason Bateman And Tina Fey
The stars of This Is Where I Leave You hang out

The Scariest Film Of The Year? Jennifer Kent On The Babadook
The director talks us through her terrifying new film

10 Horror Spin-Offs We Want To See
After Annabelle, what other supporting characters deserve their own film?

Documentaries: What Happened Next
We track down and interview the stars of great non-fiction films

Your Introductory Guide To That DC Movie Slate
Suicide Squad? Cyborg? Aquaman? We explain who’s who in the DC Universe

Captain America 3, Iron Man And Civil War: Where Next For The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
What to make of today's Marvel news

Interactive Gallery: Explore Iconic Movie Spacesuits
Explore the fabric of space-time

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)