A Matador’s Mistress (2008): zzzzzzz


A Matador’s Mistress (also known as Manolete, The Passion Within, and Blood and Passion) stars Adrien Brody as famed 1930s Spanish bullfighter Manolete and Penélope Cruz as his lover, actress Lupe Sino. It promises a whole lot — 1930s! Spain! Lovers! Ole! But here’s what it delivers: zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Okay, there is one redeeming quality, which I promise I’ll get to.

I mean, how promising does this look?


Clearly this film is going to be about SPAIN and the 1930s and sexxxx-ay gowns and hot, steamy, passionate writhing about shagging while drinking sangria! Right? RIGHT?

Here’s what you’ve got:

Adrien Brody LOOKS good:


He’s got those bedroom eyes and that shag-you-rotten nose…

"Manolete" Iberoamericana Films 2006 Menno Meyjes

He’s sparkly.


He’s got FORM.

"Manolete" Iberoamericana Films 2006 Menno Meyjes


Penélope Cruz looks luscious:


There’s a lot of tousled hair.


And a few hip-shaking dresses…

"Manolete" Iberoamericana Films 2006 Menno Meyjes

And some Cat on a Hot Tin Roof pouting.

But otherwise, this thing was a BORE. The film is told in flashback, so there’s the thread of the two having a big fight, and Manolete off to a big fight. Interspersed they meet, hook up, hang out, and argue. She flips her hair. He tries to placate her. His handlers don’t approve. I have no idea, this was me through the whole thing:


At LEAST there should be some shagging to wake me up, right? NO. Mostly what you got was this:


Tender eye contact. Zzzzzzzz wha’?

The only semi-decent shag was interspersed with Manolete bullfighting and near the end, when I was pretty comatose. And it wasn’t all that writhy or sweaty or anything. Listen, I’m fine with a hand-holdy kind of movie. That’s perfect for your Austen and Dickens adaptations. But if you’re going to give me Hot Bullfighters and Tousled Actresses and set things in Spain, then LET’S GET TO IT, OKAY?

I did mention there was one redeeming factor, and here it is. Ladies and gents, meet Lola:

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 12.49.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 12.46.09 PM


Did you say “Hi, Lola!”? You’d better! Because there’s nothing else to wake you up except for some cute dachshund action!



About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

One Response

  1. Clara

    No wonder why it never got released here in Spain (or so I think), aside from troubles with the producer, it looks atrocious.
    And I am not a bullfighting fan myself, but seriously, from those images (and from what little I have seen of the film) Adrien Brody is as believable as a bullfighter as I am as an astrophysicist. (Though the physical resemblance with the actual Manolete is there)
    I think I shall pass on this one.


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