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The Moment of Truth (Criterion Collection)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The Moment of Truth follows poor Spanish youth, Miguelin, who finds fame and fortune in the ring fighting.......bulls. Director Francesco Rosi set out to fully depict bull fighting with all of its cruelty, danger, and beauty. He definitely accomplishes that task. Nearly everything in the film is authentic. The main character is an actual matador. The bull fights are real. The gore and accidents are too. There is only one professional actor in the film, an actress actually, who plays an actress. And the cinematography gorgeous inside and outside of the ring--I am particularly reminded of the scene where Miguelin walks through a field of female laborers harvesting grain. As the women fling grain in the air, it all falls like strands of gold in the background.

But The Moment of Truth is not for everyone. If you have any protective feelings toward animals, and you are going to watch this, prepare yourself. Like I said earlier, this is a bloody movie, and every time you see a bull die its gory death, you actually did see a bull die a gory death. So while the beauty of the sport comes through, so does the butchery. Finally, it seemed to me that the story was the second emphasis of the film. That's not to say its poorly acted or even without emotional content. The Moment of Truth clearly points out the nightmarish worlds Miguelin, and others in his position, felt forced to choose between. I just mean that, to me, it seemed like Rosi's main intent was to capture the full scope of bull fighting. While that may make The Moment of Truth the best movie of its kind, it also makes it, at moments, feel more like a documentary than a movie. Think about it.
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on November 22, 2014
It's all here. An uneducated and impoverished young man tries for the gold ring by facing lethal Spanish fighting bulls. There is great cinematography with close ups of matadors and bulls locked in their deadly dance. The reaping scene in the golden Andalucian sun is also real art--something that might have appeared on a Van Gogh or Goya canvas.

Still the film missed an undefinable something. Part of the problem, perhaps, is that the actors are speaking primarily Italian. I think it would have been better if everyone had been speaking Spanish with Italian subtitles. The corrida is, after all, singularly Spanish. Also, the film missed something of the glory, music and pageantry that is a magnificent Spanish or Mexican corrida. Not once do we hear the band blasting out the full refrain of "La Virgen de la Macarena."

Also, there is overemphasis of matador "spills" and cornadas. The corrida is something that touches something unique in the Spanish soul--the melding of courage, art, dance and tragedy....but....the tragedy is supposed to be the death of the bull not the discomfiture of the matador. The fact that the matador faces grim death closely, elegantly and even with arrogance, is certainly an important part of "La Corrida", but the matador getting gored is not an acceptable part of the spectacle. It is no more appropriate to the corrida than is the prima ballerina falling on her face in an otherwise perfect "Swan Lake" or a gymnast breaking his neck when he goes through his routine on the high bar. Accident, injury and death must be seen as potential but such unfortunate events interfere with an art form suffused with necessary courage.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2013
Every moment in Francesco Rosi's film "The Moment of Truth" is electric with life and sometimes death; and the story of a young matador's from an impoverished area of Spain to fame as a bullfighter is intriguing at every turn. Another first class Criterion edition.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Just finished watching a neglected jewel by renowned Italian filmaker Francesco Rossi: "Moment of Truth" (1965). It's a beautiful, thrilling and realistic poem to bullfighting, showing underbelly as well. There is more to it than just bullfighting: it begins and ends with Holy Week in Seville. It is telling us something about then fascist Spain probably morphing into something else, but always with the boots of Franco's soldiers marching at the side. But the essence of the film is the predominance of real, beautifully photographed bullfighting scenes. It stars the very great torero Miguel Mateo "Miguelín" who executes all of his own bullfighting scenes, thus the movie providing lasting testimony to his art. I am a fan of real bullfighting, not the bloodless variety. All the bull blood here is real and the bulls fight and suffer like they still do. This is not for the SPCA crowd. But it is a glorious film, and the bull fighting is truly exhilarating. Miguel Mateo died of natural causes in 2003. The film's blu-ray edition from Criterion is exemplary.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"The Moment of Truth," new to Blu-ray, is an intriguing look into the life of a famous bullfighter, played by real-life bullfighting legend Miguel Mateo, known as Miguelin. Tracing his career's rise and decline with an unswerving focus on the dangerous sport, the movie is gritty, seldom turning away from its less-than-glamorous aspects.

Several Hollywood pictures have used bullfighting and its milieu ( "Blood and Sand," "The Matador," "The Bullfighter and the Lady"), but none has captured the day-to-day drama as well as "The Moment of Truth." Mateo is a charismatic actor, and his dramatic scenes outside the arena come off convincingly, particularly his romantic scenes with co-star Linda Christian.

Though the setting is Spain, the movie is in Italian with English subtitles. Blu-ray bonus extras include a 2004 interview with director Francesco Rosi, new English subtitles, and a booklet containing a critical essay.
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on May 8, 2015
Nice Movie. I like it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2012
I first saw this film many years ago, then had an opportunity to see Miguelin in Pontevedra, Spain in 1965, Unfortunately he was beyond his prime because he was a truly extraordinary matador.
What I enjoyed so much about seeing it again was the beautiful photography of Semana Santa or Holy Week in Spain, something that my wife and I have enjoyed many many times.
My only regret is that it is in Italian, not Spain.
Morgan Smith
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2012
If you enjoy bullicide, this is the film for you. The predictable so-so story is not enough to drag this down to four stars: there are plenty of thrills to be had in this somewhat gory matador fun-fest. Just seeing that people actually live like this somewhere in the world is fascinating stuff. And, since it is an Italian film everyone is dubbed- even the bulls. The print is pretty good and the sound is adequate on the blu-ray- minimal extras, but no matter, this one is worth it, even if there are no samurai in it....
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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2013
It saddens me that someone would make a movie about the torture of animals and that a superior race the human beings think its "GREAT". Nothing is great about the pain and suffering of another living creature. Shame on our race for still living in the darkages in 2013! Bullfighting should be stopped and the people that watch and cheer this sport are no more enlightened then the human race 2000 years ago in the coliseum.
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