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The Matador

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Barbaric, elegant, primitive, erotic, revolting, thrilling... more drama than most blockbusters! The film is a Hemingway fantasy! --Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

Stephen Higgins and Nina Gilden Seavey's absorbing documentary The Matador doesn't avoid airing the protests against bullfighting that have increased in recent years. But the filmmakers never take sides, concentrating instead on their captivating subject, David Fandila, a bullfighter from Granada, who, five years ago, at the age of 21, set out to become only the 13th matador in history to complete 100 corridas in a single season.

Even if one is not a bullfighting aficionado, it is easy to get caught up in his quest. Fandila is as graceful and stylish as a dancer and rarely falters; he does seem to fulfill one observer's remark that the bullfighter is "a hero who confronts death for all of us."

When he arrives at a ring, David blots out protesters chanting, "Torture is not art nor culture." The bull's fate might be cruel, but surely Fandila is an artist and bullfighting has been deeply embedded in Spanish and Mediterranean cultures for centuries.

The filmmakers don't probe why this came to be and what it signifies, and their film would have been stronger had they done so. Still, they do capture the paradox of beauty and cruelty that charges their entire film. "The Matador" is rightly exciting -- and unsettling. --Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times

Once he steps into the ring, this Spanish Clark Kent transforms into El Fandi, a preening, balls-out bullfighter! --Elena Oumano, The Village Voice

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: David Fandila
  • Directors: Nina Gilden Seavey, Stephen Higgins
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: City Lights
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001L8YQ5U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,904 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Matador" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By W. Gonzalez on February 28, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic voyage into the world of Bullfighting. You get to live in "El Fandi's" world and see him pursue his quest of completing 100 Corrida's in a single season. You see first hand the love of a family dedicated to helping David attain this dream, and the sacrifice they all make to see it happen.

Bullfighting certainly is not for everyone, but for those who can see the inherent beauty, and bravado this is sure to please. The documentarian also shows the people who protest Bullfighting, and question it's place in todays world. Bullfighting is ceratinly not without critics, but this film is about a mans total focus on attaining a dream, not a debate. To watch him in the ring is magical and majestic, he is trully one of the best Matadors. The score is also grand and the photography brillant. If this were about another topic, besides Bullfighting, this would surely have won and Academy Award.

If this topic interests you at all, buy the DVD, you will be glad you did!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Wisconsin on March 9, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am a Spanish teacher and have been looking for a replacement video for a bullfighting unit that we do in class. This video is absolutely fantastic! It gives an excellent view into the art and shows many great quality video clips of the bullfight and behind the scenes involving what really happens at a bullfight. The video is in Spanish with subtitles and really gives the kids a workout listening and the musical score is outstanding. THIS IS GREAT FOR A SPANISH CLASS!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Frederick A. Bristol on February 25, 2009
Format: DVD
I was very surprised at how beautiful this movie is and how well the matadors career is shown. I think it is a fascinating career choice in such a demanding tradition.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jorge E on September 13, 2009
Format: Blu-ray
A must see for all bullfighting aficionados. Captures perfectly the culture of the sport and gives you great insights into the world of El Fandi. Incredible footage, brilliant colors, and an amazing story which will keep you at the edge of your seat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ron Braithwaite on March 18, 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Spain without the corrida would no longer be Spain. It would just be another anemic Belgium in which the inhabitants happened to speak Spanish. This film is the best thing that I've personally ever seen cinematically on la corrida. The producers of this masterpiece clearly understand and appreciate the pure emotion and artistry of the lethal ballet that is bull fighting. They lay it all there in front of us--sand and blood; danger: color; fear; courage; nobility; family; religion and the proximity of death. You can almost smell the dust and the bull.. El Toro, himself, is never compromised. He is the fecund and powerful beast that has frightened and enthralled man from the Paleolithic. The bull is life and death at the same moment. He dies but not the death of the abattoir. The bull, himself, dies like a taurine hero.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J Powell VINE VOICE on June 19, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
A friend of mine had given me this movie as a gift on Blu-Ray and I must say this format really lends itself to the color and pageantry of the Bull fighting world.

The topic is a little controversial, and this movie is not for the squeamish, as it is very graphic in the killing of the Bulls.

Considering that, this is an interesting journey of one young rising star who tries to achieve 100 wins in a single season.

Mostly in Spanish with English subtitles, this is an interesting topic that lends itself to the format very nicely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sandersx2 on January 29, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've never had a lot of interest in bull fights, but after watching this documentary, I became more interested and understand better why it means so much to Spaniards. Some parts are hard to watch if you have a soft stomach, but if you can get past the perceived brutality and look at it from a cultural viewpoint, there is deep meaning to the bull fight that I hadn't considered before. I would recommend this film.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Calderwood on November 8, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Since I was going to show this to my sixth graders, I was concerned when I received it and one of the descriptive words on the front of the DVD was 'Erotic!' Turns out, they must have been using 'erotic' in a symbolic sort of way. A documentary about the life of the bullfighter, David Fandila; the movie is very tastefully done and was a perfect complement to the novel study we'd completed on the book "Shadow of a Bull." Living in Spain, we are surrounded by bullfighting; now we understand it a little more.
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