Wednesday, 4 February 2009

the matador: the most dramatic profession on earth

the matador
David Fandila is The Matador

"Bloody and gorgeous" - Variety

"Stripping away centuries of civilization The Matador confronts something primal in human nature" - New York Times

As part of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's (ACMI) First Look program, Stephen Higgins and Nina Gilden Seavey's The Matador (2008) will have its Australian Premiere in Melbourne this March.

Straight from screening around the world on the international film festival circuit, including SXSW Film Festival (Texas, USA) and DocuWeek (Los Angeles, USA), The Matador has been heralded a "Hemingway fantasy" by The New York Times as it humanises and dissects a primitive and arcane tradition that idealises the battle between beast and man.

The Matador is the epic story of David Fandila and his dream to become the world's most famous bullfighter. Shot over three years in high definition, The Matador follows the humble 24-year-old from Granada in his journey across Spain and Latin America and into the pages of bullfighting history. Heart-wrenching setbacks follow thrilling successes as the matador they call 'El Fandi' reveals why bullfighting is called the most dramatic profession on earth.

Film Programmer Amree Hewitt says that the documentary is as seductive and thrilling as its subject matter. "This intimate documentary both humanises and dissects a primitive fantasy at the heart of the battle between man and beast. It captures the dazzling rituals of the 'corrida' yet underscores this spectacle with insights into the dedication, fervour, craft and cruelties it entails for the young bullfighter 'El Fandi' in his drive for glory and perfection," she said.

Elegant, brutal and laced with hypnotic fetishism, the film captures young El Fandi's bid for bullfighting glory in a cinematic dance of thrilling spectacle, obsession and death. Family fears and expectations, quasi-religious jewel encrusted rituals of performance and the sacrifices of training and escalating fame gather force as beauty, grand pageantry and athleticism in the service of cruel slaughter ensnares us in the barbaric contradictions of the sport itself.

The Matador is also a love story: between a father and his son, the audience and their hero, a people and their perpetuation of a passionate and violent ritual and of a bullfighter's love for the beast that he must kill to create his art.

John Califra's dramatic score for this beautiful documentary makes the delicate dance between man and bull all the more gripping.

The Matador screens at ACMI Thursday 5 March to Sunday 8 March. For session details, please click here

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
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