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A view on Blu-ray by Brian Montgomery


Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (Spine # 008 BD) [Blu-ray]

(aka "Zidane, un portrait du 21e siècle " or "Zidane")


(Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno, 2006)




Review by Brian Montgomery



Theatrical: arte France Cinema

Blu-ray: Artificial Eye



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:34:55.356

Disc Size: 31,114,377,749 bytes

Feature Size: 25,612,868,928 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.61 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 22nd, 2010



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video




DTS-HD Master Audio French 4300 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4300 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit






• Interview with Zinedine Zidane (8:31)

• Interview with Directors Douglas Gordan & Philippe Parreno (31:38)

• Making of Documentary (41:31)

• Cannes Introduction (:22)

• Trailer

• Stills Galllery

• Philippe Parreno Biography

• Douglas Gordan Biography

• Artificial Eye Blu-Ray Trailer Gallery



The Film:

On one level, “Zidane” is a celebration of the body in motion and an acknowledgment of our pleasure in watching bodies in motion, a pleasure the movies have been cultivating since Muybridge’s 19th-century locomotion studies. (The history of cinema is, in a sense, also a history of the modern body.) The movie’s close-ups demonstrate that Zidane’s body is more spectacular than most, though, notably, he spends much of his time waiting and walking. The game unfolds in fits and starts, with none of mainstream narrative’s orchestrated rhythms. For soccer fans, the game is probably inherently suspenseful; for the rest of us, suspense arises from our hope (expectation, anticipation) that this body will cease waiting (like us) and starting moving (like a star). 

Excerpt of review from Manohla Dargis located HERE

Image:    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Artificial Eye's BD of "Zidane" sports a very strong transfer, that I fear my caps may not adequately capture. Since the match is often highly kinetic, the frozen images may not do justice to just how sharp and clear the HD material looks in motion. That being said, the filmmakers used a variety of film stock, techniques, and sources for the various shots. Some of them look very weak with their imperfections all too apparent in high definition (see the first capture), but these are few and far between, with most of the print looking crystal clear. What's more, as I previously said this was the intention of the directors, and the disc faithfully represents their vision. Finally, I see no signs of damage or artificial manipulation on the print. Overall, it's quite gorgeous.














Audio & Music:

Viewers have the option of choosing between DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0. Having listened to the former and skimming the latter, I can say that they both do the film justice. However, the 5.1 mix is the one that audiophiles will gravitate to. Listening to it, Mogwai's soundtrack sounded very strong with good balance and clarity. There were no unwanted instances of background noise discernible in the release. There aren't really any subtitles here to speak of, but there are a handful of messages--quotes from Zidane, I believe, along with some that describe the worldwide events from the day that the film was made-- that occasionally scrawl across the screen. Unfortunately, in a few short instances, there are white subtitles on a white image, making them all but impossible to read.



Aside from the usual assortment of director biographies and a trailer reel of other BD releases from AE, the disc boasts some interesting special features. First up, there's a short introduction by Zidane that played before its premier at Cannes in which he apologizes for his absence. Next, there's a long "making of..." documentary in which we're treated to a behind the scenes look at how the filmmakers made the film and some commentary from the participants. Finally, there are a pair of interviews. The first is with Zidane and lasts for only about nine minutes. Here he explains his participation in the film as well as his love of the sport. Finally, there's an interview with co-directors Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno, in which they discuss the making of the film.



Bottom line:

Although I've never been a soccer--er sorry--football fan, the sheer grace and athleticism captured on film is mesmerizing. Even after watching it and listening to the director's interview, I'm not really sure how to classify the film, but to be sure it's something that once you start, you can't take your eyes off of it. Highly recommended, and although there is no region 1/A release of the film, those in North America can still indulge since this release is region free.

Brian Montgomery
May 1st, 2010





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