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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Gig/Film - Mogwai/Zidane- A 21st Century Portrait - Manchester International Festival

Star rating - 9/10

Zinédine Zidane  has never looked so majestic and imperious as he did on a giant screen in a packed Albert Hall with Mogwai playing their eerie soundtrack to this engrossing film live beneath his feet. 

It's a brilliant concept from directors Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno - to follow one footballer on and off the ball for 90 minutes of a game. And it becomes a totally mesmerising and intense experience. On a practical football level, it proves once again just what a superb player Zidane was. Giving everything he has for the whole match. Talisman-like he leads by example and spurs his Real Madrid galactico team mates, including a youthful looking David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, to give nothing but their best.

But more than this, the experience of watching him in this particularly beautiful Wesleyan chapel setting, up large and towering above the band, was sensational. He becomes more than a footballer - something more balletic like Nureyev, crossed with the amazing athleticism of a thoroughbred racehorse. Some of his own thoughts on football and life are flashed across the screen during the match. He gives everything he has - brooding and menacing for the match's entirety, he smiles only once. 

And of course we all must have had in the back of our minds that infamous sending off in the World Cup Final match that shocked the football world not long after this one. Especially as he manages to get himself red carded too towards the end of this match, although in much more inauspicious circumstances. The atmospheric swirling music of Mogwai, rising to crescendos, then falling away to nothing in parts, fits the film perfectly. 

This was undoubtedly another Manchester International Festival triumph, and my last MIF event for another two years. What a brilliant festival it has been, possibly the best so far. MIF15 will certainly have some work to if it is to better this fabulous showcase for our wonderful city, with its hidden gems of venues, and ability to attract world class performers, and thousands of visitors, to our international cultural carnival. Thank you MIF for a wonderful fortnight - it's been a blast. 

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