This might not be for everybody, especially not for the squeamish or animal rights people, but I must say this documentary about David Fandila, or 'El Fandi' as he is lovingly known throughout Spain, is quite possibly the most beautiful and passionate documentaries I have ever seen. The subject is the bloody and romantic sport of bullfighting, as seen through the eyes of a people with an almost religious love for the art. In this film we are introduced to the amazing David Fandila, and his supportive family, as he grows into Spain's most legendary matador. Out there in the ring, dressed in his splendid, Princely Matador costume, covered with blood, some his own and some of his bull nemesis, you will see a passion and intensity that NO other sport in existence can match. Boxers, cage fighters etc have absolutely nothing on these modern day Gods of the Arena. For bullfighting is the only sport left where the outcome is very possibly, death. Watching a bullfight is the closest you will ever come to seeing the Roman Gladiators of the past, sparring to the death, against lions and other beasts. Not a surprising fact, as we learn that bullfighting is an ancient past time, as old as Spanish history itself.
David Fandila is seen as a very shy man in his early 20's, and he reveals that he is actually uncomfortable in social situations; that he only feels truly at home in the ring, staring into the black eyes of the bull. The graceful sparring between man and beast is something to behold, like some primal dance of death, where both partners are aware that this will end in quite possibly a bloody death for one of them. In one amazing scene, El Fandi is savagely gored by an angry bull, mere centimeters from his manhood. He is placed on the operating table as doctors stitch up the hole on the spot. David refuses any anesthesia, and mere minutes later, he returns to the ring to finish off the three remaining bulls! Truly incredible stuff. Who would think that men like this still exist in this century.
It's not all blood battles of course, as we get to meet El Fandi's mother, who is beyond proud of her son. We meet his brother who has amazingly, unselfishly given up his own career to stay by his brother's side and help him realize his dream. We also meet his girlfriend, who is satisfied with seeing her matador only a couple days out of the month, and who fears for his life.
In conclusion, "The Matador" is a must-see documentary for ANY fan of extreme sport, or for anyone interested in Spain's fascinating culture. Is bullfighting politically correct? Hell no; but perhaps it's controversial nature is part of it's lure. See this film, and be amazed..