Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Bullfighting: Beauty in art and death

I’m enthralled by Spanish matadors and the art of bullfighting. There is such beauty to it, such ritual: the ornate, tailored jackets; the repeated, split-second skirmishes with death; our violent, red-eyed vilification of the bulls.

There was a feature story on 60 Minutes tonight about a pair of handsome, bachelor, bullfighter brothers named Francisco and Cayetano Ordonez. I want not to be absolutely riveted by this sport (so many refer to it as an art), in part because of its bare cruelty to animals. I also don’t want to watch as man faces beast without weapon. Come on, you can’t call that flimsy red cape his protection. Insanity? Brutality? It’s like watching a horror movie: my hands are covering my eyes but I’m still peeking through. I do and I don’t want to know.

At its core, I do believe bullfighting is beautiful. Hemingway and Almodovar have both shown this–Papa Hemingway did it in prose in my favorite of his novels, The Sun Also Rises: Almodovar with a dazzling feminist spin in his Oscar-winning Habla con Ella (Talk to Her). Still, both of these artists created fictions. The Ordonez brothers are the real thing.

Be forewarned, the bullfighting clip is not for the faint of heart.

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Filed under: film, pop culture, , , , ,

One Response

  1. dsiasoco says:

    Tito, the only book I’ve read so far in Spain is Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon. I wanted to know about bullfighting and the infamous Hemingway. I had to fight through the book, because to tell you the truth, I can’t relate to Hemingway. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. His writing is all over the place too. Please explain to me what I’m missing here.

    On a different but related Spanish note, I am enchanted with Pedro Almodovar’s films. I’ve seen Volver about five times. love it.

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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