Friday, April 17, 2015


A Tribeca Film Festival 2015 Selection

By D.E, Levine

Antonio Barrera is a matador who has been stabbed or gored 23 times by the bull in the bullring.  He holds the title of "Most Gored Bullfighter in History."

Given the repeated gorings and the life threatening in injuries, one has to wonder why Antonio Barrera keeps coming back for more.

In 2011 producer Geoffrey Gray wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated in which he described Barrera as "the Rocky Balboa" of bullfighting.  Although his repeated injuries show that Barrera is certainly not the best matador, he shows tenacity, spirit and heart, and by doing so makes a fascinating subject.

This 76 minute documentary directed by Ida Mizrahy is a study in personal sacrifice, "true grit" and obsession, as the aging bullfighter who is married with a family and began to realize that his own death could be imminent.

In interviews, Barrera admits that he has doubts and fears about hanging up his matador cape and giving up the career that he has trained for since childhood.

However, in addition to the portrait of Barrera, we see that southern Spain, where bullfighting is still extremely popular, is also having second thoughts, as protesters against bullfighting and animal abuse demonstrate.