SXSW FILM FESTIVAL
SXSW Review: The Matador
by Ken Evans
March 12, 2008
Another day and another great documentary. I was truly excited to see this one after I first read about it when SXSW revealed their line-up. These are the docs I'm interested to see, the ones that deal with topics that I don't know much about but seem really intriguing. They're able to shed light on a topic like bullfighting, which most people don't know a lot about, and teach us about it in an exciting way.
The Matador follows David "El Fandi" Fandila through three years of his career. We watch as he tries achieve 100 corridas (bullfights) in one year, which has only been done a few times. El Fandi struggles with fame, balancing his girlfriend and dealing with injury. His skill is clearly displayed and he quickly rises to become one of the most well known Matador's.
There was so much I liked about this documentary. The filmmakers did a wonderful job of explaining the three different parts of a bullfight. Along with that they showed lengthy sections of some of Fandila's corridas which really showed off his skill and the danger he faces every fight. A lot of screen time is spent with Fanidila so that we can get to know him. We see him interact with fans and family while also talking to the documentary crew about his thoughts on the current state of bullfighting.
I started the day with this film and it brightened my spirits for the whole day. My favorite part was Fandila getting gored by a bull, having surgery to repair as much as possible and then going back out 45 minutes later to finish the corridas. If that isn't dedication and heart then I don't know what is. It was truly a great film that I would suggest to anyone.