Netherlands (MIFF 1994 , Documentaries)
Director: Sonia Herman Dolz

This dazzling feature documentary captures the incredible ceremony and cruelty of what is decried by much of the world as a bloodthirsty spectacle: the bull fight.

A kaleidoscope of the traditions, customs and religious symbolism Romance in Valencia examines the cult of the bull, the world of those who make their living at bullfighting and the culture that feeds its popularity as art form and blood sport.

Shot entirely in Spain over the summer of 1992, the film follows, amongst others, twenty year old Enrique Ponce as he experiences the season which is to be the turning point of his career and the creation of a legend in the Spanish-speaking nations of the world. Counterpointing these climactic events with the stories of breeders, trainers and apprentice Torreros (including eight year old Juan Antonio), director Sonia Herman Dolz balances romance and commerce, heroics and hard work. Encircling all is that other living and breathing beast; the crowd.

Romance In Valencia is a fascinating ballad of valour, a homage to a living mythology which has suivived the changes of modern times and a disturbingly seductive vision of a lethal duel.

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