Prologue to “El Chuli y otros cuentos de la tauromaquia”

My contacts with the world of bullfighting, perhaps also with the world of film, have been scarce, although one of them would be interesting for a possible biography, which by the way, will remain forgotten in my mind.
Despite having relatives with great fondness for bullfighting, my uncle Luis Martí was close friends with Vicente Barrera, who was also a friend of Belmonte, and a bullfighting critic in his spare time, a friend of Manolo Martínez and of Granero, too, I think. My brothers and most of the rest of the family were regular bullfight goers, but my passion focused on football.

I even applauded Montes, Cubells, and the famous midfield made up of Salvador, Molina, Amorós and, especially the even more famous “delantera eléctrica “(electric forward line): Epi, Amadeo, Mundo, Igoa and Gorostiza.

Therefore, I apologize for writing a prologue to a book about bullfighting. But there are two things that made me want to do it. First of all, the literary quality of the text by Paco Calabuig, whose quality is well-known, but which improves in every book written by this friend of so many exuberances. Secondly, being able to awaken a memory from my youth that, despite being the confirmation of my estrangement from the world of bullfighting, allowed me to live, for about twenty minutes, a bullfighting event which most bullfighting enthusiasts will most likely envy me for. It was my presence, during those twenty minutes, in one of the most mythical bullfights in the history of the Valencia bullring. A bullfight in which the matadors were awarded twelve ears, six tails and four legs. This apotheosis was due to the brilliant performance of Manolete, Arruza and Parrita, who became a fully qualified bullfighter that day.

I know some fans who have had their ticket framed. Mine got lost on the pavement when I had to leave the bullring because of the agitation and anxiety caused on me by watching all that risk, with a possibly tragic outcome, among the olés and applauds. I have always demonstrated this anxiety but, at least, I lived a historical event which I sometimes talk about with my friends, outside the bullring, though.

And if I write the prologue to this book and, especially, recommend reading it, despite my prejudices, it is because I have read it with delight and I have definitely found some chapters in it that call for a film, an occupational hazard related to my ex-profession.

Luis García Berlanga

* Prologue to “El Chuli y otros cuentos de la tauromaquia”. Paco Calabuig. Avance D.P., Valencia, 2001.