Not everyone likes bullfighting. I
can dig that, We all can’t like the same things. When the Spanish movie Manolete/Matador’s Mistress
(Menno Meyjes) came out in 2008, some were thrilled and others were repulsed.
There was one good thing about it: The film caught the attention of
many who would have had no
interest in the bullfight otherwise and led them to want to see one, just
as Blood and Sand (1941, Rouben Mamoulian) did decades before. Historically, however, the movie
made only a few accurate points. There was a torero known as Manolete. He
did smoke cigarettes. He did have a thing for an actress known as Lupe
Sino. He was managed by a man called Camara and challenged by a young
torero named Dominguin. He did get killed by a bull in Linares, Spain.
Outside of that, what is
presented on the screen is hogwash. In short, the movie is full of
more bullshit than any bullring corral.
As I watched the movie for the
first time, I hated it due to all the embellishing in the plot, though
Brody looked like Manolete and Cruz looked like Sino. I was thinking how
they would have been better
NOT to have titled the film after a real man, but simply made the script
the work of fiction it seemed to be and called the matador by a fake name.
I was adding the Dominguin
character (Manolete’s rival and the culprit some still blame for pushing
him to his death on the horns) to my list of inaccuracies as well, when
something caught my eye. An actor named Nacho Aldeguer, whom I had never
heard of before, was way too short to be the towering Dominguin, who came
close to what I would guess six feet tall if I remember correctly from my
lone encounter with him. Such was one more unforgivable error in casting
and the script. I was screaming my frustration at
the television screen over how
ridiculous this kid looked as Dominguin when something happened. This was
something that changed my whole attitude toward the film and has led me to
watch it again and again in disbelief:
So what? Well, read on.
The real Dominguin had a certain
arrogance about him that could not be imitated, let alone duplicated. It
was the role he played. He smirked disdainfully at the bulls, at the
critics and at other toreros. He was the emperor of the bullring and they
were the peasants. His persona was saturated with supposed self-love and he had the ability to back it up.
Nacho smirked again and strutted
across the screen in his suit of lights, during the opening parade, in
what was to be the last time his character and Manolete competed together.
While he physically was too short
to be Dominguin, Nacho had the mannerisms of this man down to the letter.
He was imitating that which could not be imitated. The real-life Dominguin bathed in
self-adoration - whether it was real or
staged, no one will ever know for sure, but his portrayal of himself as a
God rather than a mere man both earned him the love
and loathing of the fans. It also propelled him to stardom. This was the aura of ego the real
Dominguin gave off and no one since has been able to match. At least
it’s been that way up to now.
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Throughout his brief part in the
film, Nacho became Dominguin. The smirk, the strut, the holding up of his
index finger to signify he was and forever would be the number one in
bullfighting, even in his early career competition with Manolete, where he
had not yet earned the title. The dead came to life once more on screen.
Dominguin lived again! Nacho was not acting as
Dominguin - for all practical purposes, for a brief moment or two in
cinema magic, he WAS Dominguin.
His performance saves that movie.
It is a role I can watch time after time, staring in amazement at how this
little actor who I never heard of before and was too short to play the
character he played, made me forget about his difference in size. The
mannerisms, the expression. The simple gestures.
Again, he imitated that which
could not be imitated.
Other people felt the same way.
Since this time Nacho has risen considerably in status as an actor. People
recognize him when he is out in public. He is now a star.
Aldeguer has excelled not only in
film, but voiceover, television and music. He has proven himself far more
than just a great Dominguin imitator. He has done much since gracing the
screen as Dominguin. Hopefully he will do more.
The young star is on the rise and worth keeping
an eye on.