SXSW Review: The Matador

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.

The Matador

Find more posts: Movie Reviews, SXSW 08



I will absolutely not watch, nor support, any "sport" that involves such obvious animal cruelty. I hope someone rounds up his pet, stabs them in the back with swords while dancing around in a tight clothes, and ends up killing it, all for the enjoyment of a crowd. This is on par with dog fights, except one of the participants can drive a car, light a fire, and contemplate the existance of God. Where, exactly, is the "sport" in that? There is a huge trail of BLOOD falling down that bull's leg. That is disgusting and disturbing.

RStewie on Mar 12, 2008


Mr Evans, "If that isn't dedication and heart then I don't know what is." It seems that you are a naive person, that is not dedication and heart, it's money. These bullfighters engage themselves in torturing and killing animals because of money, that's all. Bullfighting is a cruel and bloody industry. As to this movie you can be sure that it will be boycotted everywhere.

Linda on Mar 12, 2008


You guys need to calm down. Ken, the reviewer, is not trying to support the sport of buillfighting or cruelty to animals at all. He is reviewing a film, stating his opinion on a movie, nothing else. Take your complaints against the sport elsewhere, this is for discussing the movie!

Alex Billington on Mar 12, 2008


Matador - what an appropriate name for a movie since El Fandi and others are exactly what the name means - killers. They kill bulls in a sadistic and brutal sport called bullfighting. They receive huge amounts of money to kill bulls. This sport is no different from the Roman gladiators except for the quantity of money they earn. If by any chance they get gored which is not very common the money they earn covers the gores, wounds and a lot more.

Vanda on Mar 12, 2008


Well, I don’t have to watch this film or read anything about it to know it is nothing more than the glorification of human violent nature, cruelty and lack of respect for other living creatures. Bullfighting is disgusting and evil and those who take part in it are a bunch of useless parasites with not enough brain cells to allow them to go to college and to get a proper job. To hell with them!

Lolita on Mar 12, 2008


I’ve seen this film and I think it is totally obnoxious. The whole thing is crappy and ludicrous. A documentary about the life of a man who likes to dress funny and needs to destroy bulls to convince himself that he amounts to something as a human being, that he really is special in any way. Ultimately he is nothing and the whole bullfighting thing is just torture and death. There is no fight only a set up. One thing I’ve learned, though: killing for fun, money and glory doesn’t make men, it makes killers. That’s what “matador” means: KILLER.

John S. on Mar 12, 2008


The Matador with Pierce Brosnan is better. 🙂

Julian on Mar 12, 2008


Did the filmmakers explain the suffering of the bull in the three different parts of a bullfight? El Fandi does not face any danger. It is not an equal fight at all, the man uses all the tricks and he is armed to face the bull, and in the end he always "wins" by killing the defenseless animal. In the last century few bull killers were gored to death. Meanwhile in Spain alone 60.000 bulls are killed each year.

Maria on Mar 12, 2008


Ken said the film brightened his day. That makes him just as much a SADIST as the creature known as El Fandi! I can recommend A TRULY HONEST BULLFIGHT DOCUMENTARY. Get a copy of STEVE HINDI'S BULLFIGHT FILM FROM HIS ORGANIZATION, S.H.A.R.K. It tells the TRUTH about the bulllfight WITHOUT THE GLORIFICATION OF THIS SAVAGE SPECTACLE. You see the BLOOD, the GORE, and HEAR the AGONIZING CRIES of the BULL. IT SIMPLY SHOWS YOU THE TRUTH AND THE REALITY OF A BULLFIGHT. Rosamaria

Rosamaria on Mar 12, 2008


being an animal rights activist you know whats coming...what the f*&^ is exciting and admiraible about the cowardly practice of animal abuse??? I pray they get gored on the horns every time they do this sh*t....absolutely dispicable...

cornholio_by_the_sea on Mar 12, 2008


@ Rosamaria Yeah Right! Watching a film made by S.H.A.R.K. to learn about the tradition of bullfighting would be like watching a 1935 Nazi documentary about Jews in Europe to learn about Judaism. Having been an aficionado all my life and beeing an amateur torero myself I have seen hundreds of bullfights and have seen thousands of bulls die. What PETA and S.H.A.R.K. tell you about the Corrida doesn't reflect the truth at all, most of it are flat out lies, inaccuracies and shameless exaggerations. After seeing the first bits of material and the first trailer for this project years ago I was eagerly awaiting this piece! I can't wait to see it!

Marty on Mar 13, 2008


How is this not discussing the movie? It's a movie about bullfighting and bullfights, correct? The only reason I'm happy it's on here is in the off-chance that I thought it could be along the lines of the Matador (with Pierce Brosnan) and rented it by accident. Thank you for clarifying that this is, in fact, and actual "Bullfighting" documentary, Ken, with gore and death the only ending in site for the bulls depicted.

RStewie on Mar 13, 2008


all of you people in tears about this movies release had better get used to it. next up is a feature from sony pics, a bio-flic on "manolete" one of spain's greatest performance artists ie bullfighter. with adrian brody and penelope cruz. you're going to have your noses rubbed in this a for few years, droolers! and why is this happening to you? because the hipsters that run pop culture in this country have decided that bullfighting is totally cool!!!! animal rights losers - once again your nerd status is re-affirmed. hahahahahahahahahahahah

too funny on Mar 13, 2008


Marti I’m surprised you didn’t mention Ernst Hemmingway to justify your lunacy like most aficionados do. Was it because you are not familiar with is writing about bullfights or because you are a flat out liar? Or was he the liar? If anyone wishes to know what bullfights are all about the best thing to do is to visit bullfighting websites on the Internet because they reflect the shameless truth without inaccuracies and exaggerations. As for the documentary it’s nothing more than déjà-vu. El Fandi, El Juli, El Glison they are all the same.

Luis Miguel on Mar 13, 2008


@too funny manolete, yeah the one who was gored to death by the brave Islero. You don't realise that only you, half a dozen of barbaric pre-historic fanatics that cannot even fill the cinema will see these movies.

Josep Perez on Mar 13, 2008


@ Luis Miguel Good one. You forgot the El Esperpentico, jejejejejeje

Josep Perez on Mar 13, 2008


How come nobody makes a documentary about Burlero? After all Burlero sent his killer to hell before it died by his sword. That’s what I call poetic justice! Hey, Marty working in a slaughter house gives you the opportunity to kill thousands of bovines but it doesn’t make you a bullfighter, only a sadistic frustrated matarife.

AVISPADO on Mar 13, 2008


josep - when will they ban the corrida in barcelona? every spring? tee hee. more tickets sold more bulls killed more corridas held more growth in bullfighting every year year in year out. and france? off the chart! it must be frustrating to be an anti-bullfight drooler - it just get worse and worse. bullfighting needs a more worthy opponent. the current crop of activist/losers is pathetic.

too funny on Mar 13, 2008


Bullfighting is butchery committed by psychopaths and supported by deranged people.

Sam on Mar 13, 2008


oh and josep p - "manolete" will premier at cannes this spring in front of an audience of industry taste-makers and opinion molders. and flocks and flocks of nubile starlets who five years ago would have been peta activists. too bad for your side i guess. what do the overwrought opinions of activists matter when we see that glamour has moved into the pro-bullfight camp?

too funny on Mar 13, 2008


too funny Before banning the corridas in Barcelona we are waiting that Jose Tomás "El Gay" is gored and killed by a bull, then after that we will close the Monumental.

Josep Perez on Mar 13, 2008


too funny If the only association you know is PETA then you must be very old, oh I know why you mention those is because you like to see naked girls or is it men?

Josep Perez on Mar 13, 2008


@josep perez - brilliant - link homo-phobia to the ant-bullfight campaign. you people are political masterminds. no wonder the bullfight industry enjoys such robust growth year after year. it's a great product and art form but it's detractors are such pitiful droolers as well. well done, cretinos! also please explain something to us all - every year bullfighting is banned in barcelona. how does that work? shouldn't you have to ban something only once?

too funny on Mar 13, 2008


José Tomás? Isn’t he the matador that doesn’t go anywhere without his Teddy Bear collection? Now, that’s what I call a good subject for a documentary! El Josito de Pelucia!

Luis Miguel on Mar 13, 2008


@ too funny Homophobia you are totally wrong. I have nothing against assumed gays like me for instance, as to gays in the closet that is a different issue. When matadors pretend to be very macho and they are gays without the courage to assume their homosexuality that is even worse. By the way do you know where Barcelona is? I don't think so because Barcelona never banned bullfights.

Josep Perez on Mar 13, 2008


American Bullfighter with Alex LeMay is the doc to watch. It's supposed to come out on dvd in a month.

D. Pace on Mar 13, 2008


josep p what business is it of yours what anyone in the world does in their bedroom? esto huele de fascismo. y la cuña de fascismo? la izquierda. but it's all moot. the animal rights fanatics are paper fascists. they've utterly failed to ban the bullfight. instead it is bigger than ever.

too funny on Mar 13, 2008


luis miguel - jose tomas is a figura de toreo and international celebrity. you however are utterly insignificant, a non-entity. obviously jose tomas is totally unaware of your existence and couldn't care less about your poorly expressed opinions on this website. i suppose the question is - why should we?

too funny on Mar 13, 2008


@ too funny First I was homophobic but since I prove you were wrong now I am fascist jejejeje. Leave politics out of this. The issue here is animal cruelty and animals do not care about political colours. They are above politics and they deserve our respect and protection from certain predators like bullfighters and alike. You are all the same when you don't have arguments to face a discussion you insult. Typical of aficionados.

Josep Perez on Mar 13, 2008


josep writes - "You are all the same when you don't have arguments to face a discussion you insult. Typical of aficionados" oh really? wasn't it you that began the attacks with a sneering assault on the "gay jose tomas?" and it is is political, in catalunya very much tied to nationalism and hatred for castilian culture. anything to irritate madrid. while just across the border the french catalan celebrate the corrida to irritate paris. i can respect just a little the way the catalan use the bullfight and "love" for animals as a club to beat on their political enemies. but i have to laugh at the shattered personalities who are attracted to animal rights activism in a vain effort to feel better about themselves. i'm talking about you now josep.

too funny on Mar 13, 2008


I love this...I want to live in a place where I can kill bulls with my bare hands, while they are restrained and sedated. Cows and chickens are for eating, bulls are for killing.

Brian on Mar 13, 2008


@ Josep So animals are "above" politics? In that case I am sure you can tell how one woud translate the following A. Einstein into Muuhhhh? “Politics is for the present, but an equation is for eternity.”

Marty on Mar 14, 2008


Hi, too funny(28) I’m confused! Are you trying to insult me or to pay me a compliment? Either way, I fail to see the point or the relevance of your remark specially because it applies to you as well. José Tomás is a celebrity? So is Ted Bundy.

Luis Miguel on Mar 14, 2008


Marty you're too funny...

AVISPADO on Mar 14, 2008


Oh no you got me! Of course after years of this sadistic unscrupulous violence I subjected myself to, how else could I have ended up but with a split personality! NOT!

Marty on Mar 14, 2008


@luimigue te insulto claro. porque eres un pedazo de-

too funny on Mar 14, 2008


@ too funny I don't give a damn if it is a fight between nationalisms. I don't give a damn about politicians and politics. You are trying to change the subject - we are talking about animal cruelty - into something that has nothing to do it. Non human animals have a life just like you and they just want to preserve their lives the same way you want to preserve yours. Torturing and killing animals for entertainment it's not acceptable. And please spare me the arguments that the bulls live like kings and other nonsenses because I know all your arguments by heart and they do not justify bullfights. There is nothing but nothing that you can claim that justifies killing an animal for entertainment. By the way why do you think that I am from Catalonia or even from Spain just because of my name, there are millions of Joseps in the world but to assume that all of them are from Catlonia or Spain is just being naive don't you think jejejejejeje

Josep Perez on Mar 14, 2008


too funny I’m used to being insulted by aficionados and not a single one has affected me yet. You are welcome to keep trying, though. Good luck!

Luis Miguel on Mar 14, 2008


josep - i know you don't care about politics. it's love glorious love that calls out to you. still i think your fantasy of a good buggering from jose tomas is unreasonable. he's an international superstar and you're, well, you.

too funny on Mar 14, 2008


@ too funny He is an international star you say! Well Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny are also international stars and at least they don't kills animals.

Josep Perez on Mar 14, 2008


Bullfighting is not a fight at all, but rather a profound exhibition of cowardice and animal torture. It is not one bull and one human, but instead a tormented animal who is confused and injured before he ever sees the inside of the bullring, confronted by an entire gang of armed thugs. See it up close and personal for yourself on YouTube at

Steve Hindi on Mar 14, 2008


too funny What’s with the celebrity obsession? Are you a celebrity by any chance? You call yourself “too funny” but you’re not even funny. You are quite boring, actually! It’s seems to you anything goes as long as it brings fame. Why don’t you tell us who you are and what you do so that we can try to understand what makes you so special and spotlight worthy? Maybe you’re one of José Tomás’ teddy bears…

AVISPADO on Mar 14, 2008


i'm just a disinterested observer. i'm curious about the plan to stop bullfighting. are you discouraged at all? i'm mean you're not even treading water you're actually going backwards. there are more bullfights now then when you started this collective temper tantrum. tickets sold for more than a 1000 euros yesterday to see José Tomás. the leaders of spain and france plan on attending a bullfight together in Madrid this spring to see one of france's newest superstars juan bautista. cayetano ordoñez is on the cover of vogue, a new documentary is in production on sebastien castella and toreo is all over the catwalks and runways of europe and america - bullfighting is unquestionably hip right now so what do you pathetic and poorly socialized losers intend to do about it? poor josep has never even had a girlfriend. most of your movement is made up of lumpy frumps in shapeless frocks who never shave their legs. how are these maladroits in birkenstocks going to stand up to glamour?

too funny on Mar 14, 2008


@ too funny What is your problem? You seem to be fascinated with bullshit like catwalks, crap magazines, international stars, etc ! I think you have a problem you should consult immediately a psychologist, lol. The leader of Spain is not Rajoy but it seems you are not aware of it. Zapatero attending a bullfight! Dream on it. It's more likely that he will surprise you by banning the killing of the bulls in the bullrings.

Josep Perez on Mar 14, 2008


no , no no, josep you're mixed up again, rajoy went yesterday along with thousands of other spaniards to see José Tomás. sarkozy is coming for san isidro and will attend with the king of spain. who mentioned that non-entity zapatero? don't you think he looks like a duck? also josep my small swarthy friend, many people are attracted to beauty, passion color etc while very few people are fascinated by earnest, weedy, bespectacled losers. which is why sebastien castella is a multi-millionaire and you are not.

too funny on Mar 14, 2008


@ too funny By looking at your list of names it seems too me that in fact you are attracted to all the weirdos (or is it esperpenticos) in this world. Do you want a list of shrinks?

Josep Perez on Mar 14, 2008


i think penelope cruz is attractive. am i so strange? you come off as an underweight male nurse and leave me cold. is that so odd?

too funny on Mar 14, 2008


HOLA TOO FUNNY For someone who claims to be a “disinterested observer” you are too emotional and one sided. You’re even “curious”! I have to admit I don’t know what to say to someone like you. You are worse than bullfighters for, disgusting as they may be, they put their lives on the line. You hide behind a computer and sit in the middle of a crowd, at the bullring, wondering what the bull’s blood tastes like. At the end of the day there is only you, the mirror and the swastika tattooed on your brain. You are so something, yet to be named, that even I don’t want you near me. You’d give Hell a bad name.

EL DIABLO on Mar 14, 2008


Oh too funny tu pensas que és muito engraçadinho mas não tens piada nenhuma. Vê lá se te calas pá senão arranco-te os olhos e cago dentro dos buracos percebeste?

Manel on Mar 14, 2008


Oh too funny tu não tens graça nenhuma, vê lá se te calas senão arranco-te os olhos e cago dentro dos buracos. Percebeste?

Manel on Mar 14, 2008


toma lá, Manel Os anti taurinos, por falta de argumentos, de originalidade, de educação, utilizam todos os meios (os mais baixos é claro), para lançar a confusão. As suas organizações são uma espécie de Al Qaeda sem categoria, um conjunto de indivíduos abúlicos, carregados de frustrações, intolerantes para quem não pensa como eles, uns ditadores potenciais, que vivem obcecados com todos aqueles que rejeitam as suas opiniões e que graças a Deus são a maioria. Danados pelo facto do seu discurso ter efeitos nulos, utilizam artimanhas, que não servindo os seus propósitos, causam no entanto a confusão e pelos vistos isso basta-lhes. Pobres de espírito, contentam-se com pouco, divertem-se como os miúdos da escola, daqueles que levam pancada da turma toda, são os “bombos de festa”, os “queixinhas”, os “choramingas”, aqueles de quem as miúdas se riem quando passam no corredor com aquele ar assustado de quem tem medo de tudo. Crescendo, dão origem a indivíduos de má índole, cobardes, incapazes de enfrentar os assuntos de frente, vivendo da intriga e da confusão. Eis aqui os anti taurinos ou pelo menos um dos seus tentáculos ( mas os outros não são melhores)

inteligente demais on Mar 15, 2008


josep - can you read spanish, cretino?

too funny on Mar 15, 2008


Here are nice and beautiful images of a proper bullfight

Anthony on Mar 15, 2008


poor Anthony. can you imagine what it must be like to be an Anthony? what unhappiness. anyway here is something human called art.

too funny on Mar 15, 2008



Josep Perez on Mar 15, 2008


Yeah Josep hilarious ! That program by the way has been canceled in the meantime. In part because it kept collecting lawsuits for false claims and defematory statements. The channel it was on, Tele 5, since then has swerved to take on a more bullfighting friendly stance . Yesterday for example they ran a piece in which Sebastien Castella introduced viewers to the art of toreo de salon. I guess anti-bullfighting programming just didn't bring in the ratings anymore. Now you have to go back to spewing your propaganda on butt ugly buggy websites! Once could almost feel bad for you guys! Also Josep you should know that other movements than yours have dabbled in similar tactics as presented by you here. History proved them wrong too.

Marty on Mar 16, 2008


Another aficionado in love with the glamorous José Tomás Señor Don José Tomas ... Atencion ....! 16/03/08 à 13h24 El Colemonte Monsieur José Tomas, on vous a aimé, on vous a encensé mais ... vous commencez vraiment à nous "enquiquiner" sérieusement avec vos histoires de télévision. Continuez comme ça et vous allez dégouter tout le monde et vous faire huer partout. Vous avez la prétention d'entrer dans l'histoire en étant le plus grand matador de tous les temps, si vous continuez vous allez y entrer comme le torero le plus "con" de l'histoire de la tauromachie. Il est long le chemin pour monter au pinacle, il est beaucoup plus rapide pour en redescendre ...! Don José Tomas, comienza realmente a aburrirnos seriamente con sus historias de televisión. Siga como eso y va a repugnar todo el Mundo y hacerles abuchear por todas partes. Tienen la pretensión de entrar en la historia siendo el más grande matador en todas las épocas, si ti continuas a hay como el torero el más "tonto" de la Historia de la tauromaquia. ¡Es largo el camino para subir al pináculo, es mucho más rápido para volver a bajar...! Mr Tomas, seriously, with your stories of television you aggravate us. Continue, and you go to aggravate everyone and to make you hoot everywhere. You claim to enter the History while being the largest matador of all Times, if you continue will enter yourselves there like the bullfighter the more "idiot" of the history of the bullfighting. He is long the way to go up to the pinnacle, he is much faster to go down again from there.

AVISPADO on Mar 16, 2008


avispado - i'm glad we've moved past the boring animal rights issues (so 1999) and on to the individual merits of toreros. like all artists they have their good points and bad. i think picasso was more self promotion than pure talent yet i admire him very much (excellent draftsman too) i like zubarán very much but i think he made errors when accepting commisions. Tomás is very very good but audiences are at the point of turning on him for reasons having more to to with media saturation than anything else. can you imagine what it must be like having anyone outside of a few other maladjusted losers having any interest in you? i suppose the first step would be acquiring some kind, any kind of personality. good luck with that, avispado.

too funny on Mar 16, 2008


Let's look at the trailer

Josep Perez on Mar 16, 2008


looking at the numbers of people in the world who can accept animals dying to entertain people (even if you exclude eating meat which is entertainment) you would have to say that it can argued either way. millions of people attend bullfights every year in europe and most of them i imagine would agree that killing animals for entertainment can be justified. but how many people in the world are like josep perez or anthony or avispado who actually experience intense pleasure watching human beings dying or being injured? whether or not you are against bullfighting you have to be concerned about people like this and wonder about their mental health.

too funny on Mar 16, 2008


Ponte en su piel and you will understand cretino...

Josep Perez on Mar 16, 2008


Hi, toofunny Who are you? Why do you hide your identity? There is nothing wrong with being famous and rich. And since you combine both qualities with a high IQ and a fascinating personality you have nothing to be embarrassed about. You can tell us which magazines you appear on, you can tell us what you did that made you a celebrity. Don’t be modest. Don’t be shy. Don’t hide behind a nick name like me. We are proud of having you here trying to turn us into better human beings. That’s why you are here, isn’t it? Penelope Cruz is in your bed, begging for your attention and here you are, wasting precious valuable time with a bunch of losers like us. Go join your fascinating glamorous friends and charmed them. We’ll be fine, don’t worry!

AVISPADO on Mar 16, 2008


i can spare a few minutes to ridicule inutiles like you and josep. don't worry it's ok.

too funny on Mar 16, 2008


Tourists reaction after attending a cruel bullfight in Barcelona

Josep Perez on Mar 18, 2008


la corrida de toros no es und deporte es una parte de la cultura de españa. La corrida de toros no esta a punto de la matanza del toro. Es una demostración de valor y gracia. fin. también me gusta esta Película.

Mariposa on May 22, 2008


I am extremely interested in purchasing this film. Does anyone know on what website I can order this film? I live in the U.S. and have not found a single place where to purchase this. Please email me with any vital information. Thanks!

Agustin on Jun 23, 2008


I am so sorry for people that want all out history to be band, I do not like animals being killed, but I have been to where they kill our beef for us to eat and I can tell you some of the things they do there leaves bull fighting in the full clear of day............. people need to see bull fighting for what it is, it has been there for thousands of years, it is what the Spanish people are, its THEIR history not ours , its part of their every day life and has been for so long, why do people want to change everything. Is it ok for humans going out and bashing an 80 year old lady to death, or is that OK with these people, why not go and fight to stop that. I have had a dream for so many years, from when I was a child to see a bull fight, right now they only thing I have it this DVD on bull fighting and I watch it all the time and I see no wrong it it as I love the Spanish way of life and I am not Spanish.... Thank you for your time.

jan slater on Apr 18, 2010

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