A year before the notorious 2006 World Cup head-butt that ended his career in disgrace, the documentary Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait followed the famous Real Madrid midfielder through an entire match. It basically excludes his teammates (including Ronaldo and David Beckham) and ignores the score to focus on his fragmented states of mind and play. With occasional underscoring by Mogwaï, the doc isolates him from every angle, amplifies and redirects the sound, plays with the speed and framing to emulate his (and our) subjective experience of the game. The 90-minute match becomes a trance film, and Zidane a sullen kind of performance artist who repeatedly spits, yells, argues with the refs, drags his toes in the turflooking miserable, petulant, and incomplete until he touches the ball. Then, in one memorable run past three Villareal defenders that culminates in a perfect high left cross to Ronaldo, all that negative energy reverses itself into magic. His gift isnt just that one minute of inspired play, but to endure the other 89 minutes of anguished waiting. (The film, which runs through Sunday, April 6, is accompanied by the 1970 Football as Never Before, which put the same scrutiny on Man Us George Best.) (NR) BRIAN MILLER.
April 4-6, 7 & 9:15 p.m., 2008