Thursday, March 30, 2006

Toro Negro

Some must be wondering why didn't include Toro Negro on my list. I lack of judgement because I haven't seen it, but just by reading the synopsis and this New York Times review, I must say that this type of films will never be on my lists. It is sad to let a man hit a women so that you can have drama in your story, even if -after shooting- you defend her.

I'm not in denial. I know that Mexico is an underdeveloped country where -among abductions, poverty, corruption and illegal immigration- domestic violence exists and it's important to make note of it -or make films about it-. Still I would love to see more films about the positive qualities of my country.

March 30, 2006
'Toro Negro' Examines the Life of a Violent Young Matador in Mexico

Be aware that any confrontation with "Toro Negro" ("Black Bull") — an unflinching look at bullfighting and debasement in the Yucatán Peninsula — will entail witnessing animal torture and death. And that's not the worst of it. Shot on vivid high-definition video, in backwater districts where the blood sport thrives, this documentary follows 21-year-old Fernando Pacheco, a disturbed matador, as he lurches from contest to contest in an alcoholic stupor, lashing out at beast and man with equal fury.

Whatever ones makes of the ethics of bullfighting one must concede that the violence Mr. Pacheco inflicts in the arena is part of the job, and there's not exactly a surplus of options in rural Mexico. Ritualized cruelty is a fact in most cultures; the bullfight is simply less sublimated than other expressions. But a sociopath is a sociopath, and there's no relativism when it comes to Mr. Pacheco's reported raping of a young girl, his fathering and abandonment of several children, and the repeated and unrepentant beating of his pregnant wife.

Once, in the midst of an especially harrowing attack, this otherwise stoic woman pleads to the cameraman to intervene. (Pedro Gonzáles-Rubio and Carlos Armella are credited as directors.) The pause before he does so, evidently reluctant to abandon his vérité, may be this merciless movie's most unsettling detail. That she had to ask at all indicates that the filmmakers are perhaps practicing their own form of ritualized cruelty.

Toro Negro

Opens today in Manhattan.

Directed by Pedro González-Rubio and Carlos Armella; in Spanish, with English subtitles; director of photography, Mr. González-Rubio; edited by Mr. Armella; music by Morgan Szymanski; produced by Alejandro González Iñnáritu, Mr. González-Rubio and David R. Romay; released by Cinema Tropical. At the Two Boots Pioneer Theater, 155 East Third Street, at Avenue A, East Village. Running time: 87 minutes. This film is not rated.


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