A Matador Faces Retirement, But First He Will Face The Bulls One Last Time In The Acclaimed Documentary “Gored”
March 16, 2017 — Gored will leave you breathless.
The film documents the final stand of bullfighter Antonio Barrera as he faces a bull for the last time as matador.
Barrera was known as the most-gored matador in modern history. He has been injured and impaled 23 times; many of those incidents required operations, hospital stays, recuperation. Now, in his thirties, with his abilities in decline, his family has begged him to stop.
Just last year, 29-year old Victor Barrio, an award-winning matador, was impaled in the bullring with his wife watching. The bullfight was televised and viewers saw the matador gored in the chest and thrown in the air. He would die later that day. This is the possibility that all matadors live with, every time they enter the ring.
Barrera admits he was always prepared to die in the ring; he was less prepared for retirement.
Critics have praised Gored.
“Gored” plays out like a half documentary/ half thriller. Matador Antonio Barrera is a maniac and director Ido Mizrahy pulls you right into his bloody world of bullfighting. … Director Ido Mizrahy brings this beautifully grizzly film about how Barrera’s life has led up to this, his final bullfight; because he is now in his thirties with diminished skills – time to retire. Or get retired. …This beautifully shot documentary takes an inside look at not only the sport which some call brutal but many call beautiful. We get a look at a man who has been driven to be a matador since he was a little boy; a man who literally doesn’t know when to walk away.” Geoff Burton, Cinematrek
“The average person’s response to a ferocious bull charging at them would be to run, or perhaps try to kill the animal in desperation, but the matador has overcome these innate instincts. He must not only stay in the ring, he must taunt the bull, performing an intricate routine that closely resembles a delicate dance. He will try to kill the bull eventually, but not right away. Not until the performance calls for it. It is the danger and the intensity of the event that Barrera says kept him coming back to bullfighting; he gets a rush that has become like a drug, and he gets to share this high with a roaring, wild crowd.” StageBuddy
“The film opens and closes with Barrera’s final performance in December 2012, and it’s a breath-taking sequence featuring his crowd-pleasing Puerto Gayola – he kneels in the ring in front of the charging bull. Barrera muses on the acceptance that one must be ready to die while in search of the perfect performance, and how thoughts of dominating death seem like crazy thoughts to the rest of us.” Red Carpet Crash
“Time and again we see Barrera brutalized by a bull in the ring and rushed to receive medical attention, only to return, bloodied and emboldened, to finish the job. … Is bullfighting a sport, or a religion? Are matadors insanely brave, or merely insane?” David N. Butterworth
“Biography meets hypnotic journey: this portrait of a man in danger sucks you in and drags you along. The early portion of the film which involves a lot of talking heads gives way to the second half footage of Barerra’s fights. The fight footage is filled with both the wounds that Barerra suffered but also the beauty of bullfighting. Knowing full well that I may get brick bats thrown at me I have to say that there is a beauty in the motion of the matador dancing with the bull. Partly it’s the suit, partly its the motion of the human body and partly its the metaphor of man and nature that makes it something hypnotic to watch. …I really liked this film a great deal. There is something about the experience of seeing this film and how it portrays a fading way of life that is truly special.” Steven Kopian, Unseen Films
“Barrera…[is] focused on the Platonic form of the bull, on a sort of spirit animal who exists in everyone of them and somewhere beyond. This is his enemy, his dance partner, his beloved. …Gored has an intriguing subject and seems likely to become a historically valuable document.” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
Gored is available on DVD and Blu-ray or you can stream it immediately on Amazon Video.