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Running with Bulls
Format: DVDChange
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 22, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
This is an excellent documentary...if only for the fact that it provides some absolutely incredible video of the running of the bulls taken at street level by the producers. I would say that the documentary is also refreshingly nonjudgmental. The subtext of it seems to be, "Here is this beautiful, grotesque, exhilarating, and insanely dangerous fiesta...judge for yourself if it's right or wrong or if you want to take part."

As far as my stance on the encierro (the running of the bulls goes), I think it's absolutely insane. I can see no good reason to expose myself to the chance that I might get --courtesy of a maddened bull-- a colostomy or worse and maybe get trampled on by both humans and bovines as well. I would say taking part in that sort of thing is a great example of exposing yourself to an uncontrollable risk. You could be the smartest, savviest runner in the world, but you still might wind up getting tossed around like a rag doll by one of the fighting bulls.

The thing is though...the documentary makes me want to watch and photograph the encierro (but from a balcony) because stupid and incomprehensible it may be, it is undeniably an incredible spectacle.

The second part of the documentary deals with the corrida (the bullfights). I found this section a little less compelling because I've seen bullfighting and documentaries about it so I know what it looks like. Watching this documentary's discussion of it led me to think that being a trained bullfighter in the arena with one bull and a staff of helpers is infinitely more controllable a risk than running with the bulls. But even matadors get gored or killed sometimes.

As far as the morality of it all goes, I'm frankly unmoved by the arguments against it. Those bulls are fighting bulls and as the documentary observes, they live like kings before their eventual demise in the arena. As far as the cruelty argument goes, yes, it's cruel but nature itself can be extremely cruel to ordinary animals and human beings as well. And once again, it is photogenic.

Two final observations..

1. if I was an opponent of encierro and corrida, I would try to come up with a more productive tactic and argument against them than the one employed by animal rights crazies that the film shows rather briefly. Frankly lying down in the street with oil on your half naked body in order to form a giant bull may be a lot of fun and creative but I would imagine most of the fiesta's participants and the locals probably look and say, "What a bunch of weirdos." If I was advising those people, I would tell them to skip doing performance art like that and simply try to persuade people to end bullfights where the bulls get killed and instead do them like I believe they do in Portugal where the bulls live.

2. If I had seen this film before it was released, I would have advised the producers to throw in some footage (there's a lot of it on youtube) where the bulls really do some serious damage to a lot of people. While I don't think the documentary sanitizes what can happen, I just think showing some footage of the encierro at its most horrifying would be a good idea and maybe dissuade some people who have no true idea of what can happen to them in this activity.
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