Curro Romero, The Story Of A Man With A Star

Paco Lucia's son convinces the bullfighter to star in a documentary series about his life while he prefers anonymous retirement in his new home

On December 1, Curro Romero will turn 87 years old. Twenty years ago – October 22, 2000 – he suddenly decided to say goodbye to the ring after a festival in the Sevillian town of La Algaba. At that time, despite his advanced age for the suit of lights, the so-called Pharaoh of Beds was considered a very first figure of bullfighting, a chosen one, an accomplished artist who had written glorious pages of 20th-century bullfighting.

Today, the passage of time has rejuvenated him despite the white hair that he wears. Today he is a living legend, an inexcusable reference to bullfighting, a philosopher, a wise man, owner of a very particular personality, and eternally imprisoned by a shyness to the surface that he tries to hide behind a forced smile.

Geniuses of his stature never retire, increasing their prestige over the years. Perhaps that is why the Andalusian production company Womack Studios, directed by José Carlos Conde, has launched an audiovisual project on the bullfighter, consisting of a 90-minute documentary film on Romero’s bullfighting race, directed by Curro Sánchez, the eldest son by Paco de Lucia, and a series of five 70-minute chapters, led by the Cádiz-born filmmaker Jose Escudiel.

The first one will use archive images and the teacher’s testimony and feature Casilda Sánchez, the director’s sister, as a scriptwriter, who also participated in the audiovisual work on their father, Paco de Lucia: the search, which won the Goya award.

For the best documentary in 2015. In the five chapters of the series, a complete cast of people related to the bullfighter will participate, from colleagues, such as Spartacus, Pablo Watery, Diego Urdiales, Pepe Luis Vazquez, Cristina Sanchez, and Chicuelo, picadors, and banderilleros, and a wide selection of representatives from culture, flamenco, painting, literature, and journalism.

However, the Andalusian production company maintains absolute secrecy about other details, apparently due to commitments established with international production companies that have imposed it.

The idea is that a well-known platform, whose name remains hidden for the moment, distribute the film and the series all over the world, with particular relevance in Spain and Latin America; and the initial forecast is that both audiovisual projects will be released next May, although everything will depend on the circumstances arising from the pandemic.

On his wedding day with Carmen Tello, Curro Romero accompanied by one of his closest friends, Cayetana de Alba. EFE (COURTESY OF THE ROMERO LOPEZ FAMILY)

Three years ago, the idea came up during the documentary Camaron’s filming, flamenco y Revolucion made by the same team. When it presented to Curro Romero, his response was a categorical negative.

Along with his wife, Carmen Tello, he lives in their new house in an urbanization near Camas, the bullfighter’s hometown, eager to go unnoticed in a world from which he feels alien from birth.

It took several meetings with the promoters and some close friends’ perseverance –among them, the journalist Alberto García Reyes and the bullfighting businessman Pedro Chicote, advisors to the bullfighter in the project– to convince him of the need to participate in the proposal.

Thus, Curro accepted the praise with a sullen gesture, as a penance from someone who has been so much despite him, who has created so many memories among the believers of Turismo, the religion instituted by him non-profit and born of an inimitable personality and casual.

After the confinement caused by the state of alarm, the bullfighter and the team moved to the Gabriel Rojas cattle farm, located in the Sevillian town of The Castle of the Guardas, where during a full day, Curro reviewed his life and miracles before the cameras.

Days later, the recording was moved to the Plaza de la Real Maestranza, the second home of Curro Romero, setting of many of his great triumphs and also of affectionate dark afternoons, where, surely, the teacher returned to walk the 53 steps of the paseo from the gang gate to the presidency, a joyful and hopeful Calvary, a catwalk of dreams, his chin sunk in the chest, the olive complexion, the downcast gaze, the shyness to the surface, and, a few meters away, the hopeful gaze of so many creatures who hoped to be the recipients and protagonists of some historical flash.

It is not necessary to be a fortune teller to venture that the audiovisual project underway will revive the intense story of a child born in Camas, a town near Seville, on December 1, 1933, the bosom of a humble and honest family. Curro knew the economic hardships, went through fatigue, learned the four rules, and began working in a farmhouse, first, and later in a pharmacy. But soon, he changed the white coat for the bullfighting dress. And he did it because it was from God that he had come to this world to be a bullfighter. And he explains it in his way:

“Art and feeling are not learned, and I have not done anything to have them; They gave birth to me like this and I am grateful.”
He appeared as a bullfighter with horses at the Maestranza in the spring of 1957 and triumphed without palliative in Seville the same year as his alternative, in 1959.

Since then, he has been announced every year on the posters of the April Fair, of the that was his watchword. In total, 42 consecutive fairs. The Maestranza adopted him as their favorite son.

His has been a career of much-accumulated glory, unforgettable triumphs, wide deserts of fights, – filial fights, rather -, a trajectory as brilliant as it is irregular, precautions, inhibitions, hatred and veneration of an earthly god, until his retirement, by surprise, now twenty years ago in the little square of La Algaba.

On February 28, Curro Romero was flanked by the president of the Junta de Andalucía and the president of the regional Parliament. PACO PUENTES
Last February 28 was his last public appearance. Curro went to the Sevillian Theater of La Maestranza to receive the appointment as Favorite Son of Andalusia, which the Andalusian government had granted him.

He was seen with more gray hair than usual and a dull face. Few knew that he was convalescing from a harsh treatment to exterminate a happily overcome laryngeal tumor.

Since then, he has opted for the peace and silence of his home. “My favorite audience is tennis,” he has said on different occasions, “because the shouting and revelry give me a headache.” “I would like to be a painter,” he confessed to this newspaper a few years ago, “that my work was known, but not me.” Today, he continues to think that he has not done anything extraordinary:

“I was just lucky, I was born that way, and being a bullfighter has not forced me to make a special effort; perhaps, I have had harmony and a certain grace, but nothing more. I’m just a man with a star”.

Bismarck Lepe

Bismarck Lepe is CEO and founder of Wizeline, a product intelligence company that helps businesses drive the development of products. Prior to Wizeline, Lepe was a co-founder and founding CEO of Ooyala, a video technology platform company. At Ooyala, he raised $20 million in funding and led the strategy that drove its early growth and success. Previously, he was an early employee at Google, responsible for Ads Quality products and Video Advertising, which contributed over $1 billion in revenue.

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