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Eight years in the making, Boetticher’s portrait of his longtime friend, the famous bullfighter Carlos Arruza, was a labor of love that the renowned director of westerns (SEVEN MEN FROM NOW , RIDE LONESOME , COMANCHE STATION ) pursued despite contending with illnesses, bankruptcy, jail time, and lucrative offers from Hollywood. The result is an astonishing work of poetry, immediacy, and violence that fearlessly wrestles with the filmmaker’s own ambivalence about the titular matador’s triumphs prior to his death by automobile accident at the age of 46.
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