Justo Algaba: The tailor of the Fiesta (view this story)

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Rep: 38
Kevin Wellenius July 22, 2010, 6:37 p.m. permalink

The combination of Justo's mellow voice, the music, and the vintage bullfighting clips give this whole piece a very nice feel. You set and maintain a tone of tradition and romanticism, and this echoes the themes that Justo discusses: how toreros demanding, concerned about their appearance, and that Justo meets their needs as a real craftsman.

The video consists of the archival footage of bullfights, detailed close-ups of some of the outfits (presumably made by Justo) and the interview with Justo. Unlike many "talking head" clips, I like that we at least see more of Justo's environment in his interview. It makes for an environmental portrait rather than just a headshot.

The close-ups of his outfits shows us the extremely ornate patterns in his work. These are nicely done (with minor focus problems, such as at 2:21) with smooth pans and frame-filling detail.

I like your choice of a closer, with Justo telling the toreros that they must feel the fit of the suit, or else they may not wear it. It sums up nicely the enormous pride Justo takes in his work, and gives it a pinch of machismo that I expect from the toreros, but not necessarily their tailor!

In terms of things that could be improved, I think you need some video of Justo at work. This is, after all, about a craftsman, so let's see him doing his craft. This could be complemented by detail shots of not just the finished outfits, which you have, but also the tools used by Justo. This would be more effective than the slow pan on the sword, which is pretty but not really relevant to the story. The overall piece could be tightened up, perhaps by starting with Justo's line about believing in destiny, and how it is set in motion 100 years before we're born. That's a great way to make a viewer curious about this fellow. The segment about Justo's other clients in theater and opera is not necessary, and I think the part in which he talks about the evolution of fabrics and design is not especially engaging, either. They're fine, but they just don't have hold my interest the way the other segments do. By paring the piece down by a good minute or so, you can also use just those pieces of archival bullfighting scenes that most show the elegance and dress of the toreros, and drop the ones that are just generic bullfighting scenes. In this manner, everything is more consistently about Justo and his craft.

Rep: 1
Miguel Fernández Flores July 25, 2010, 1:43 p.m. permalink

Hello Kevin,

First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to write such a
comprehensive review, I appreciate it dearly.  Of course, there is so
much work to be done! I don't think you can stop learning in
storytelling, and its a privilege having people whose job you know (and
admire) taking their time to do this, thanks. Your review has been an eye
opener: I know I'll read it a couple of times over.

Its true that having Justo working in his studio would've been better,
in fact it was my intention to have those shots. Sadly, maestro Algaba
not only had a very busy morning, and had to leave after the 20 minute
interview, but we found out that he only did minor tailoring details
there (the major tailoring was made outside in other workshops, hundreds
of kms from where I was).

Which brings me to the major problem i have right now: an utter shortage
of time. i only had that day to film, and a couple more days of
editing: a common curse in MM making nowadays... That leaves me with a
good interview, but very limited resources :( . In that sense i had to
work with whatever I could find at Justo's shop.  Of course, it deters
the overall quality.

Its very interesting and helpful what you tell me about editing out
pieces in an interview. I usually have that problem, but don't receive
enough feedback in that sense. One of my J-school teachers called this
rougher editing, "killing the puppies": yes you like them, they're cute,
but they make the piece slower or get the viewer confused. Snip the
bastards. I'll definitely pay more attention to that one.

When Justo talks about suit quality though, i guess I was thinking about
my bullfighting-following acquaintances, and how they would relate to the
piece. For me it made sense that an expert like him talked about what
its regarded nowadays as static and old fashioned. It gets hard to nip n
tuck sometimes....

Thanks again for your time. As soon as I find the time to subtitle more of my works, I'll try to upload more.

And sorry for the typos. I wrote this on my phone in a train. Muchas gracias!

Rep: 14
Phil Carpenter Aug. 3, 2010, 3:36 a.m. permalink

Miguel, thanks for sharing!
where did you get the archival footage?

Rep: 1
Miguel Fernández Flores Aug. 11, 2010, 11:47 a.m. permalink

Hi Phil, I got it from a public archive. I live in madrid. Cheers!

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