Tuesday, April 22, 2008

American Bullfighter DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Overweight American Alcoholic Finds Redemption via Bullfighting

Alex Lemay was born in Indiana but raised in Spain where his father, Albert, taught as a college professor. Consequently, as a child, instead of going to baseball games with his dad, he accompanied him to the bull ring, to enjoy that country’s national pastime.
By the time he was an adult, Alex had moved back to America but had already developed a sad Spanish soul. He saw less and less of his father, eventually bottoming out back in Barcelona at the age of 34.
Rudderless, overweight and an alcoholic, he entered rehab to try to turn his life around. Then, after being sober for several months, he decided to return to the bullring, not as a spectator, but as a matador.
The idea was to prove something not only to himself but to get the respect of his dad. So, Alex enrolled in a bullfighting academy designed to whip novices into suave toreadors capable of hypnotizing mammoth savage beasts with little more than a red cape and several well-placed swords.
Listen, as an animal lover, I have some serious reservations about a bio-pic conveniently downplaying the abuse aspects of this death-defying so-called bloodsport, especially when an “Ugly American” is using it as a means of male-bonding. However, because of the deep cultural roots of bullfighting in Spain and Latin America and because Albert was terminally ill at the time, I was willing to give the documentary a Mulligan.
And provided you have a strong stomach for bovine torture, the film is likely to prove entertaining, for it relates an otherwise admirable overcoming-the-odds saga. Plus, daredevils can learn where to stab in the neck to hit the aorta during a pass, something that could come in handy if you ever decide to run with bulls in Pamplona and find yourself about to be gored.
No animals were harmed during the writing of this review.

Very Good (3 stars)
In English and Spanish with subtitles.
Running time: 82 minutes
Studio: Cinema Libre Studio

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