This love letter to a torero (bullfighter) is an experimental film from Spain, directed by Ms Reyes Cabellero. This alluring dispatch pays eloquent tribute to the courageous women, from the intriguing world of espionage and counterintelligence; who have helped boost or gut war efforts of nations, depending on whose side they operate on. The film celebrates the free spirits of women like Mochizuki Chiyome, who established an all-female ninja group, the Dutch Mata Hari to Virginia Hall, the Special Operation Executive. These strong women, and innumerable more like them, some who remain anonymous to this day, excelled in their dangerous craft with their dedication, often leaving their male counterparts far behind.
Told against a backdrop of the Spanish Civil war, the film does a fine job of bringing the era back to life, with brilliant production design and authentic costumes of the period. It narrates a story using a series of moving imagery from a contented little town in Spain. The turmoil that lies underneath the surface; at dinner table conversations and exchanges between parents and their children, over choices and mistakes, bring the stories of intrigue and treason out in the open.
Idealism and patriotism spur these women on, and the thrill of adventure or the call of love draws them in deeper; and sometimes, it is the venom of female vengeance that charts the course of history. Cartas De Amor a un Torero, is not just a brief note from the war, it is the legend of these brave, free-spirited women from a war which was as much a class struggle, as a war of religions and ideologies. The film also tells us that t ‘no matter what side you are on, you suffer for both the sides’ and that these women have realized that ‘courage is not always rewarded’.