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Ella es el Matador (She is the Matador)
U.S./Spain, 2009, 62 minutes, Color, DVD, Spanish and Italian, English subtitles
Order No. W09971
For Spaniards—and for the world—nothing has expressed their country’s traditionally rigid gender roles more powerfully than the image of the male matador. So sacred was the bullfighter’s masculinity to Spanish identity that a 1908 law barred women from the sport.

Visually stunning and beautifully crafted, ELLA ES EL MATADOR (She is the Matador) reveals the surprising history of the women who made such a law necessary, and offers fascinating profiles of two female matadors currently in the arena, the acclaimed Maripaz Vega and neophyte Eva Florencia. These women are gender pioneers by necessity, confronting both bull and social code. But what emerges through this mesmerizing film is their truest motivation—a sheer passion for bullfighting, in the pursuit of a dream.


Broadcast on P.O.V.'s 2009 Season on PBS



AWARDS, FESTIVALS, & SCREENINGS


Tribeca All Access, Creative Promise Award: Documentary
Women In Direction International Film Festival, Best Documentary
23rd Medina del Campo Film Festival Spain, Audience Award for Best Doc

  • Independent Film Week Spotlight on Documentaries
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Chicago Latino Film Festival
  • Femmes en Resistance
  • Silverdocs Documentary Festival
  • Sarasota Film Festival
  • Guadalajara International Film Festival
  • Tulipanes Latino Film Festival
  • Redwood City Latino Film Festival
  • Dominican Republic Global Film Festival

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QUOTES

    “***. An interesting portrait of the fight for gender equality in a typically male-dominated activity…Recommended.”
    Video Librarian

    ”Intelligently edited [and] engaging. A valuable educational tool. Even those familiar with Spanish culture will find some surprises here.”
    Jo Labanyi
    Dir., King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at New York University

    "A historically contextualized, thoroughly researched and culturally informed portrayal of the passions, aspirations and frustrations of young women who seek to become professional performers in the Spanish 'World of Bullfighting’."
    Sarah Pink
    Author, “Women and Bullfighting: Gender, Sex and the Consumption of Tradition”

    “Blends history with up-to-the-minute profiles…. a universal saga.”
    Michael Fox
    SF360 (San Francisco Film Society)

    “It’s impossible not to immerse yourself in the action.”
    Sarah Godfrey
    Washington City Paper

    “Beautiful—watching it, I had an incredible sense of the two women not only as devoted athletes and trailblazers, but also as people who are passionate about an art that is significant in Spanish culture.”
    Anna Pinkert
    Still Indie

    “Demonstrates poignantly the difficulty that women matadors face when trying to break in and succeed in the masculinized sport of bullfighting.”
    Sandie Holguin
    Associate Professor Spanish /European History, University of Oklahoma

    "…could inspire interesting classroom discussion about why some women are motivated to cross gender barriers and about the social support necessary for them to succeed."
    Signs Journal of Women in Culture & Society

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