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With Ella Es el Matador, directors Gemma Cubero and Celeste Carrasco explore the sexism faced by female bullfighters—and, of course, inadvertently inflame tensions between PETA and NOW. The film is filled with moments that lay bare the obstacles facing women in the sport: A scene in which amateur matador Eva Florencia is matched with an insultingly tiny, young bull is humiliating, and an interview with renowned bullfighter Enrique Ponce, during which he earns his next goring with remarks about women’s lack of physical strength, is infuriating. The documentary’s most powerful moments, though, always occur when the steely, intense Maripaz Vega is onscreen. Vega, the only active professional female matador in the world, isn’t fond of long discussions about bullfighting and her place in the sport—the fearless, skilled fighter prefers to speak through her work in the ring. And when Vega stands in front of a bull, covered in blood, sword raised, staring the beast in its eye, it’s impossible not to immerse yourself in the action.
On Wednesday, June 17, at 5 p.m. (plays with Ma Bar ); also on Friday, June 19, at 12:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre.