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Hot Docs 2015 Review: Nuestro Monte Luna

It may be custom, but whatever intimate look, whatever contemplative story is unearthed in Nuestro Monte Luna still makes watching the abuse of animals difficult.

Were this a tale about bringing awareness to such tradition and engrained behavior, then the message would be different. This tale of a small Columbia town where bull fighting is taught, however, doesn’t have that self awareness, and is plagued because of it.

Without narration or explanation, the camera follows young boys in Choachi seeking safety and purpose under the tutelage of an expert ringer. They are compelled to study the so-called art of bullfighting despite the mayor of Columbia placing a ban on the act – a ban that would be overturned two years later.

This school is a safe haven of sorts, and the elder statesman is forced to reflect on his life’s work, a work that is outlawed at the moment. Without this bullfighting tutor, the at-risk youth may have more unsavory endeavors.

Staying so observational, however, puts the film at a disadvantage. While leaning towards the side of those looking to fight again, Nuestro Monte Luna (Our Forest Moon) lacks particular fortitude but isn’t rather objective either. There is certainly an interesting story to be had, but the film can’t quite unearth it. It’s by no means an impossible task to tell a story from the point of bullfighters; here though there just isn’t enough emotion. Ultimately the power of the images of bulls being gored casts a shadow over the rest of the film, undercutting moments of earnestness and sympathy.

[star v = 25]

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.