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Ever since the first book about tauromachy published in 1796 by Pepe-Hillo, and up to the 1943 publication of the ultimate reference book El Cossío, an encyclopaedia that originally had four volumes, which by the time of its 2007 update had thirty, not forgetting TV coverage of bullfights and specialist programming, all possible angles and details of the bullfight have been picked over.
All, apart from one: the bull’s experience.
Tauromachy, a documentary by Jaime Alekos, uses images filmed during 23 bullfights and junior bullfights in 15 cities and towns throughout Spain in the last three years to restore to the bull the importance this animal deserves, but that has been denied him throughout history.
Tauromachy takes the viewer on a thirty-minute journey with the bull through the three stages of the contest. There is photography as we have never seen it before of the animal’s facial expressions, its body language and its reactions. The words “bravery” and “nobility” acquire new meaning as we view them from the perspective of the bull.
This documentary completes the information that we have about tauromachy, with the inclusion of a component that is essential if we are truly to understand it: the consequences of a bullfight for every animal that goes into the ring; this is a necessary piece of the story if we are to form a judgement about whether this activity is valid and acceptable in our times.
What will you think once you have empathised with the bull during the fight?