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This is not a movie about bull fighting .This is a movie which depicts bygone days ,when Spain was under a dictatorship and if you did not want to starve ,you had two possibilities: either become a bull fighter-remember this line :" who was Manuel Benitez before he became El Cordobes?/He was like us,he was starving" or a flamenco singer (The most famous was Joselito Jimenez ).Miguel,a peasant ,leaves the impoverished country for the broader horizons of the town like many others .But poverty awaits on them all,and he realizes he's working for nothing.Then he tries to become El Cordobes .It's the rise and fall of a bull fighter in the sixties,but once again,even if the bullfights are well filmed (if you like this kind of show,personally,I don't) the main thing is the depiction of Spanish life at a time when Western Europa's economy was expanding rapidly,leaving-temporarily- Spain and Portugal by the wayside .The best scene which perhaps sums up the whole movie is Miguel's return in his old home ,when his brand new car belts along the road across the fields where animal traction remains.
Even if Miguel became a rich man ,he would never be part of the folks on the hill;during the party,these posh people have not the slightest idea of the risks their "idol" has to take.
That a Spanish director would have been allowed to film such a subject was unthinkable ;it's one of Italian Francesco Rosi's most overlooked movies along with "Uomo Contro" .People generally know much better such movies as "Salavatore Giuliano" "Il Caso Mattei" "Cadaveri Eccelenti" or " Cristo Si E Fermato A Eboli" .His admirers could do worse than give a chance to "Il Momento Della Verità".
Rosi does not forget the prominent part played by religion .The movie begins and ends with this procession during The Holy week with its hooded penitents .The people seem imprisoned in these celebrations which frame the movie like safeguards.The main character does not appear in the first ten minutes .A short scene shows the bull fighter praying Virgin Mary before his last Corrida.
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