Toro Negro Directed by Pedro González-Rubio and Carlos Armella Cinema Tropical March 30 through April 9, Two Boots Pioneer
Black bull, no kiddinghowever you may settle in, with Toro Negro, for yet another placid, Salvation Army doc well-meaningly directing us toward a middle-class respect for poor third-worlders, you end up on the scary, decaying lip of civilization. The milieu is Yucatán bullfighting, which is to the Madrid variety what the most wretched Central American midget-league baseball is to the arena of Derek Jeter: overgrown weeds, moonshine in mason jars, cardboard houses, wounds without doctors. Quickly, though, the video doc becomes a character study of one Fernando Pacheco, nicknamed El Suicida, and at first blush a skinny, crazy Indian kid with a wired smile and possessed eyes whose professional strategy amounts to letting the bull virtually kill him before he's dragged off, slapped awake and tossed back in with a fresh animal. But Pacheco is also a maniacal alcoholic and unapologetic wife beaterthe face-offs in the bullring are chilling, but the domestic violence, captured on camera, is far worse. As his story emergesrape, assault, manslaughter, prison, and torrential self- destructionit becomes clear that Pacheco is some kind of sociopath, and the movie evolves into a monstrous portrait of economic annihilation on the outskirts of the global village.