Du Rouge dans le Noir – DVD Rugby et Toros


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By Zaragoza Clouds

Des Hommes et des TorosLe Bonheur en Suspens (TV)


Before the ‘70s, Spain exported its toros (bulls), its toreros, its apoderados and its “impresarios”, the entire culture and economy of bull fighting.
In the meantime, France had long known a torero who went in the opposite direction and made his name in Madrid, Pierre Boudin, a.k.a. Pouly III.  Then during the Thirties he would often have top billing in France between 1927 and 1932.  While in 1958 it was the Arles native Pierre Shull who followed Pouly in the Arles bull ring.  Since a bullfight matador wasn’t considered an elite athlete, he couldn’t be part of the French Army’s national phys-ed school and was instead sent off for a long tour of duty in Algeria.  No more bullfighting for him!
Bullfighting in France was an imported spectacle and these few individual adventures were short-lived.

It’s in this context that two young Nimes native, Bernard Domb and Alain Montcouquiol, brought up with all these stories and the roars of the bull ring but having no contacts, decided to set out onto the roads of Spain.  Their adventure and determination would win everyone over and in 1968 they were awarded a sports grant.  They would be the leaders of a whole generation of youngsters from the South of France who in turn sought glory facing the toros.  Both found their way; they would be different, but they were incontestably the first players in the novel of French bullfighting!
Since then we’ve had our disappointments and tragedies.  In the 80’s, one of them would become a glamorous star, Christian, or “Nimeno II”, the younger brother of Alain Montcouquiol.  He would triumph in every bull ring in France, Spain and Latin America, only with him the story is a tragic one.  Gravely wounded in the Arles bullring by a toro from Miura, he took his own life two years later and was buried in his “suit of light”.  The entire city of Nimes morned.
Coming after this emblematic figure, Richard Millian, Stéphane Fernandez-Méca and Denis Loré, to mention only the best-known, carried the banner for this adventure.  These days we have the all-time greatest star of French bullfighting, the number-one-ranked “escalafon”, Sébastien Castella.  After him there’s Juan Bautista, who hung up his “suit of light” for two years but who’s back with a vengeance, and Mehdi Savalli who’s went down to Spain and is already feted as a future star!

Today, French bull breeders are renowned, French bull fights attract thousands of people; organizers and apoderados (agents) are often French now and Simon Casas just narrowly missed his attempted takeover of the Madrid bullfighting ring, Las Ventas!

This movie tells the crazy story from the mouths of those who lived through it.
“Red into Black” is the grand novel of French bullfighting, a French story, a mix of passion and nerve-wracking solitude for those who walk alone in front of the bull with an ambition to create a special beauty!
Moving, subjugating, fascinating and questioning, this movie is a true epic, a mix of darkness and light.  Before any move to judgement, above all its impetus is to try to comprehend.