Geoffrey Gray, Ido Mizrahy
Winner of the McKinnis Sports Documentary Award at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature at the RainDance Film Festival among other prizes, Ido Mizrahy's Gored follows Antonio Barrera, the sport of bullfighting's most gored bullfighter in modern history, as he approaches the subject of retirement as a bullfighter who has never achieved his desired level of fame yet also one who now has a family for which he wants to slow down and remain healthy. After a career of hardship that has included 23 times being gored resulting in 17 surgeries, Barrera is forced to define his legacy in his final performance.
If there is a problem with Gored, it's that Mizrahy has crafted a film that merely entertains when it should inspire and mythologizes Barrera as sort of an underdog heroic figure instead of delving more deeply inside the soul of a man willing to endure so much for his lifelong dreams. There's a good story told in Gored, but I have a feeling there's an even better story waiting to be told.
This is not in any way to say that Gored is a bad film. It's not. In fact, it's quite often a mesmerizing film largely upon the strength of Barrera, a captivating and emotionally compelling figure with whom you can't help but feel completely in awe on a variety of levels. When the camera turns away from Barrera, the film is less compelling. Barrera's family is adoring, of course, and his wife worried, of course, yet it seems as if Mizrahy never goes much deeper than what one might already expect. The same is largely true for most of Barrera's peers in the film.
Yet, fortunately, Gored always comes back to Barrera.
Gored is the second feature documentary from Motherlode Films, a production company founded by Mizrahy and Geoffrey Gray. Mizrahy's first feature-length narrative was 2007's award-winning Things That Hang From Trees, a film selected to be part of MoMa's permanent collection. Additionally, he has been co-writer/co-director for Beyonce: Year of 4 and first collaborated with Gray on Patrolman P, which premiered on DirecTV in 2014.
Gored is available via digital platforms beginning March 1st including iTunes and other platforms. For more information on the film, visit its official website linked to in the credits.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic