Matador. (1986)

vlcsnap-2015-11-19-14h50m50s071(Traducción a castellano sigue)

Almodóvar takes on the Spanish bullfighting institution, always a controversial topic, in his fifth film, Matador, starring Antonio Banderas. I would like to point out that the word English believes to have borrowed from Spanish, matador, is never used in Spanish. “Matador” means “killer”. A bullfighter is a torero.

A very young Banderas, still relatively unknown at the time, portrays Ángel, a young student of bullfighting. The film’s opening scene is classic Almodóvar: Diego (Nacho Martínez), a retired bullfighter-turned-teacher is pleasuring himself to brutal death scenes as María (Assumpta Serna), a lawyer/killer, kills her lover at the height of passion. We then meet Ángel, who has had a very strict Catholic upbringing and is still a virgin. When someone accuses him of being gay, he tries to rape a woman but faints when he sees her bleed. His ultra-conversative mother, who is a member of Opus Dei ( and is played to perfection by Julieta Serrano), tells him to confess his sins, so Ángel goes to the police station to confess to the attempted rape. When he sees photos of a trail of bodies left behind by his new lawyer, María, he confesses to the murders he never committed.

The film turns into a psychological thriller, the third type of Almodóvar film and in general his weakest efforts. The film is by no means bad, and the conclusion is satisfying, (it eclipses some endings, one might say ;)), but it’s no means one of his most-beloved films. Almodóvar seems to have three types of films. The surrealist farce (Entre tenieblas), the woman’s melodrama (¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer eso!) and this third type. In the mid 1990s and 00s, we see Almodóvar excel at the woman’s melodrama. He improves with the other two, but the melodrama is his forte.

Matador offers a different look at the world of bullfighting, a woman who kills men as bullfighters kill bulls and a bullfighter afraid of blood. Bullfighting is always a controversial topic in Spain, and Almodóvar was trying to comment that this world is not what it seems. The film was darker than his previous films, and he was trying to show that “desire was a bridge between sexual attraction and death.” (Wikipedia) He later admitted it was one of his weaker efforts. However, a weak Almodóvar is better than most movies.

Rating: B

 

Almodóvar Checklist:

Chicas Almodóvar:  Carmen Maura, Julieta Serrano, Chus Lampreave, Verónica Forqué, Eva Siva
Antonio Banderas: Sí
Poisoned Gazpacho: No
Madrid: Sí
Galicia: No
Drugs: Sí, in passing at a casting.
Musical Sequence: No.
Men Too Gay To Function: Sí, in passing at a casting.
Transvestites: Sí, in passing at a casting.
Furniture Ikea Could Never Market: Not as present.
Surreal rape scene:  Yes.
Meta Slow Camera Pan To Show How Much He Really Loves Cinema: No
Mirror Scene: Sí
Dress from Lady Gaga’s rejected pile: Sí. Tons of cape-style dresses that reflect the cape of the bullfighter.
Aspect of Spanish Culture Turned On Its Head: Bullfighting, machismo.
Nuns: No
Catholic Church As Bad Guy: Yes, in the sense Catholic guilt and his Opus Dei mother drove Ángel mad.
Taxi: No
His mother: No
Reference to earlier film: Nothing obvious.
Odd Advertisement: No, but a clip of Duel in the Sun was in one scene.

En su quinta película, Almodóvar confronta la institución del toreros, siempre una polémica en España. Antonio Banderas sale como protagonista. 

Un Banderas muy joven, todavía desconocido durante este epóca, es Ángel, un estudiante joven del torero. La primera escena, que es Almodóvar clásico, es un montaje de Diego (Nacho Martínez), un torero jubiliado, está dándose placer mientras está viendo escenas de muertes brutales mientras María (Assumpta Serna), una abogada-asesina, mata a su amante en el punto máximo de pasión. Después, conocemos a Ángel, quien ha sido crecido en la Iglesia Católica y todavía es un virgen. Cuando alguién le llama “maricón”, decide intentar a violarle a una chica, pero se desmaya cuando ve sangre. Su madre, socio de Opus Dei (e interpretada genialmente por Julieta Serrano), le dice confesar sus pecados. Entonces, Ángel va a la comiseria de policia para confesar su crimen. Cuando ve fotos de cuerpos muertos, matado por su abogada nueva María, confiesa a los asesinos que nunca hizo. 

La película se hace un thriller psicóligico, el tercer tipo de película de Almodovar y en general sus pelís más flojas. Este película no está mal, y tiene una conclusion que satisface. (Se puede decir que es un eclipse de algunos finales ;)), pero no es una de sus pelís más conocidas. Almodóvar parece tener tres tipos de peli: La farsa surrealista (Entre tenieblas), la melodrama de mujer (¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer eso!)  y este tercer tipo de trhiller. En los años 90s y 00s, Almodóvar tiene mucho exitó con la melodrama de mujer. También se mejora hacer los otros dos tipos, pero la melodrama de mujer es su punto fuerte. 

Matador ofrece una vista diferente al mundo de torero, una mujer que asesina a los hombres mientras los toreros matan a los toros y un torero que tiene fobia a sangre. El torero siempre es polémico en España, y Almodóvar intentaba decir que este mundo no es lo que parece. El film era más oscuro que sus anteriores films, y quería mostrar que “el deseo es un puente entre la atración sexual y la muerte.” Después ha dicho que no era uno de sus mejores películas. Sin embargo, una película de Almodóvar es mejor que la mayoria de las pelis.

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