Manolete Film Response Essay

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Bullfighting is a Spanish art form that is, and has been throughout history, an appreciated source of entertainment, especially during Franco’s dictatorship. In Manolete, the cultural significance of a successful bullfighter is depicted as the movie shows Manuel Sanchez’s extreme zen and skill in the bull ring coupled with his scandalous love affair with communist beauty Lupe Sino. Dutch-bred and American-schooled Menno Meyjes directed this Spanish film, though his other works include America box-office hits that feature other kind of cultural traditions from around the world. The film was produced and distributed by Lola Films Co., a Spanish distributing company whose mission is to ascertain “a never-ending search for quality, diversity, and, in most cases, public approval.” The film follows Manuel’s sumptuous love affair with Lupe, which is frowned upon not only because she is a communist, but also because it is dangerous for a matador to fall in love as it means he may not be as daring in the bull ring. Manuel is played by Adrian Brody, who connects with Manuel’s stoic, yet also timid nature; Lupe is expertly portrayed by Penelope Cruz, a beloved Spanish actress who epitomizes the sexy, mysterious persona of Lupe. Because bullfighting is so closely tied to government, it is even funded by government, Manuel’s interest in a communist is strictly forbidden. To make matters worse, a successful matador in love is not accepted in Spanish culture because, as Manuel’s advisor tells him, “To be a great torero, you have to be a little bit in love with death.” It is hard to understand the cultural significance of bullfighting without living in Spain, so the passionate advice that is given to Manuel demonstrates to the viewer just how important a matador is to Spanish culture. Though the film was not directed by a Spaniard, it does a good job of capturing the

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