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Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait


With FIFA Worldcup U-20 in full swing in the city and across the country, it was perfect timing for sport and art to come together at the Bloor Cinema.

To many, Zidane is known as the guy that headbutted the Italian player Materazzi at the 2006 FIFA Worldcup finals, ending his career with a red card. To others across the pond, Zinedine Zidane, lovingly called Zizou is a football legend helping the French National Team capture their first Worldcup title in 1998 and the Euro in 2000. In 2001, deep pocketed Real Madrid picks him up for a cool US$87 million, the highest in football history. Fast forward to April 23, 2005, Real Madrid plays Villareal. From a distance it is your everyday match, but this day, filmmakers Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno trains 17 cameras onto Zidane, recording each and every one of his motions and emotions.

Large moving TV pixels, a faint voice of a commentator and a haunting score by Mogwai could be seen and heard in the first minutes of the film. Suddenly a blast of stadium noise brings us closer to the match. Close is an understatement. The intensity of Zidane's sharp facial expressions is captivating. We see Zidane's heavy breathing, the dragging of his feet on the grass like a stag ready to go to battle, every drop of sweat. Everything else is blurred out and we're drowning, immersed in sound. The match is a slow buildup only to switch into a rollercoaster of emotions from disappointment and frustration, to satisfaction and happiness, only to unleash the full force of his uncontrollable fury. A prelude to what was to come a year later on another "Carre Vert".

Zidane, a 21st Century Portrait was co-presented by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Images Festival and DHC/ART, following the foundation's Canadian theatrical premiere of the film in Montreal.

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