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Sand and Blood (1988)

De sable et de sang (original title)
Bullfighting, music, medicine, change, and homoerotic possibilities mix in this study of friendship. Francisco is a bullfighter on his way up, so focused even sex doesn't hold his interest.... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Sami Frey ...
Manuel Vasquez
Patrick Catalifo ...
Francisco Jimenez
...
Emilio
Clémentine Célarié ...
Marion
...
Dolores
Catherine Rouvel ...
Carmina
Pierre Forget ...
Le Père
Camille Grandville ...
Annie
Stéphane Albouy ...
Mario - le jeune frère torero de Francisco
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Storyline

Bullfighting, music, medicine, change, and homoerotic possibilities mix in this study of friendship. Francisco is a bullfighter on his way up, so focused even sex doesn't hold his interest. After a minor road accident, he meets a doctor, Manuel, who attends a bullfight, leaving early, retching. His wife, who is also his partner in a string quartet, worries about him: Manuel has a history of breakdown. Manuel, for his part, hates bullfighting and the memories it brings of Franco's Spain. His harsh views undermine Francisco's focus. He accompanies the young fighter to Spain for an important corrida. Will Francisco succeed? And what becomes of this friendship? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Drama

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4 May 1988 (France)  »

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Sand and Blood  »

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intriguing dissection of the male psyche
31 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The title recalls the silent Rudolph Valentino classic 'Blood and Sand', and not without good reason: although made in France the film is set close enough to the Spanish border for some overlap of culture, in particular the corrida de toros. Strictly speaking, it isn't a bullfighting film at all, but more of a male bonding character study, about an ambitious matador who becomes disillusioned after befriending a sensitive doctor with a profound dislike of the sport dating back to his childhood during the Spanish Civil War. There's a teasing suggestion that their relationship might develop into something physical, and too bad it never does: it would have added an entirely new dimension to the standard toreador tradition of machismo. Writer director Jeanne Labrune's documentary training adds a vivid, unsettling realism to several bullfight and abattoir scenes, and newcomer Patrick Catalifo, as the troubled matador Francisco, shares some of Valentino's smoldering, photogenic intensity.

(Postscript/apology: the above impressions were salvaged from a press screening in which several reels of the film were obviously jumbled. A report on the properly sequenced film might have read totally different.)


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