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The Matador (2009)

David Fandila , Nina Gilden Seavey , Stephen Higgins  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Price: $39.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: David Fandila
  • Directors: Nina Gilden Seavey, Stephen Higgins
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: City Lights
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001L8YQ5U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,439 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Matador" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews


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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent bullfighting video! 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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Next best thing to attending one. February 25, 2009
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing documentary September 13, 2009
By Jorge E
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good documentary 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OLE!!! November 3, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
What a great film ... I've been looking everywhere for a good film on Bullfights but this is amazing! ... The soundtrack is also fantastic and I want to know where you can purchase the CD which is apparently available ... Highly recommended for those who enjoy tradition ... Word to the wise though, young children should not watch this as they may be frightened by the scenes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting topic. Excellent on Blu-Ray June 19, 2012
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Educational! March 18, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought this DVD to show clips of it to my students in Spanish class. I know bullfighting is not very popular outside the Spanish-speaking culture, but this documentary shows the artistic aspect of it. My students were very impressed with the amount of work and training that goes into this. They were begging for more! Definitely worth the money. :-)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great look behind the scenes of the life of a famous Spanish matador.
Published 3 months ago by rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative!
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. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sandersx2
4.0 out of 5 stars Ski racer turned bullfighter
The video is ok.But it shows why he is not great.He is too athletic which takes away the danger moment. Read more
Published 10 months ago by analyst1946
4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh look at a centuries old tradition that depicts present day...
An excellent documentary that highlights the ups and downs of a matador's career. The controversy that surrounds this "ritual" of Spain and other Latin America countries... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Diane Williamson
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting video
Well done documentary on a respected bullfighter. I found it interesting throughout. Would recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.
Published 12 months ago by Keith L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
If you want to have a movie about the life of a bullfighter this is the movie for you! Great camera work and a lot of interviews about the bullfighting with full descriptions of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by danizzz
4.0 out of 5 stars The Matador
It's a good documentary, but a bit long for a classroom full of teenagers. Maybe skipping a few minutes in the middle, would not hurt and the students won't even know it.
Published 22 months ago by Isabel, CA
5.0 out of 5 stars good quality dvd
The dvd was rated as "acceptable" but the item exhibited no flaws. Packaging in great shape and no problems viewing the film. Read more
Published on September 27, 2011 by va
5.0 out of 5 stars For the love of El Fandi
I have loved El Fandi from the start. His appearance in the ring is fantastic, and this movie give me the same feeling i get sitting in spain during a bullfight - almost. Read more
Published on December 3, 2010 by Kai S. Flatekvål
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Unbearable
This was almost unbearable, and I have seen bullfights in person, because I was unsure of the outcome. Read more
Published on October 26, 2010 by Charles R. Moss Jr.
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