Gored *** out of 4 stars
directed by – Ido Mizrahy
Whether or not your a fan of the violent sport of bullfighting, there’s no doubt that director Ido Mizrahy’s documentary Gored, featuring the most gored matador in modern history, Antonio Barrera, will keep you thinking for nights. Ido opens his film in Leon, Mexico, December 2012, with an image that Jean Luc Godard might envy, as Antonio prepares for what will be his final bull fight, an eager crowd roaring in his background. Right before he collides with the hard-charging beast, the film cuts to a week before Antonio’s last performance, where we see his life outside of the ring, and with his family in Salamanca, Spain. From there, the film jumps before and after that final performance, with too-brief glimpses of his post-matador life. But what you do see is still an amazement.
It’s obvious why Antonio’s long time wife Maria is not a fan of what he does for a living. But for him, there’s simply nothing in the world he loves more than bullfighting, even with knowing every time could turn him into a human shish-kabob. Hell, he holds a record of being gored a jaw-dropping twenty-three times and not being killed. Antonio being “passionate” for the sport doesn’t even begin to cut it. For this matador, being face-face with a bull is where he really lives. One account that Maria shares of seeing him get gored, during a performance in Guadalajara, Mexico, is as brutal as it is defining, the crowd cheering even when a severely injured Antonio is carried off to the infirmary, Maria later having to make the choice if they should immediately operate on him or not. Even then, a survived Antonio is still ready to do it again.
Earlier in the film, Antonio states that he was convinced the only way to bullfight, was to expose himself completely every time. When we return to see his final fight in full, Antonio leaves his crowning career on a peak doing just that. Same goes for Ido Mizrahy’s film, which exposes and puts us face to face with the world of the bull.