Anyway, to get back on topic, here's the text from the aformentioned short Maysles Brothers film, WELLES MADRID JUIN 1966:
Welles: It goes without saying that to be a bullfighter takes guts. And skill. Because if a fighting bull can kill a tiger, an elephant, then obviously it can kill a man. And very easily. But he doesn't do it often or there wouldn't be bullfights, because of course bullfights aren't a, a form of sport, they're a tragedy. A bullfight is a tragedy in three acts, and these noble creatures [gestures to bulls in pen], who are waiting for their death this afternoon, are the heroes of that tragedy. The tragedy of the bullfight, of course, is based on the innocence of this creature. Well, of course, his innocence, his perfect virginity, is the basis of the tragedy of the bullfight.
But I think I should emphasize, now, that the picture we're going to make is not the story of a bull or the story of a bullfighter. It has this world, this world of brave fighting bulls and, uh, bullfighters as its background. Or rather as its scenery. For our story is really the story of people who follow bullfights, the kind of people who live off bullfights, economically and also emotionally, because there's now a whole new generation of, uh, foreigners as well as Spaniards who spend the entire summer going from country fair to country fair following these, uh, these corridas in big bull rings like this one and in very small ones in the country. But our story is about a special group of these, the richest and smartest and chicest, the jet-set ones, and it has to do with a kind of voyeurism, a kind of, well I don't know, I'd call it emotional parasitism. And it has to do with the whole mystique, not of the bull, about which we read so much, perhaps too much, but the whole mystique of the, uh, the He-Man.
This picture we're gonna make is, uh, against He-Men. The people who go to bullfights, not occasionally as tourists do, but who are passionately addicted to it, those afficionados...that, uh, part of the afficionados who have the Hemingway mystique, oh, who got hooked through Hemingway...and our story is about a psuedo-Hemingway. A movie director who belongs to that, uh, well that, that, that league which in, in Spain they call the Macho. That means very masculine. Mooie macho, with a lot of hair on the chest, you see? So the, so the central figure in this story is the fellow with, you know, you can hardly see through the bush of the hair on his chest. And, uh, you know, he was frightened by Hemingway at birth, and this fellow, ah, uh, he's a tough movie director who has killed three or four extras in every picture. Whatever the picture is, it's his pride that three or four of 'em died. That's, you know, that's his stuff.
Full of charm, full of charm...everyone thinks he's great. So in our story, he's riding around, following a bullfighter and living through him. You know, he's become that lovely young fellow in th-...in, in, in, in, in the beautiful costume and that fellow's danger is his danger, that fellow's success is his, and so on. But he's become obsessed by this young man who has become in a way his own dream of himself. He's been rejected by all his old friends. He's finally been shown up to be a kind of voyeur, a peeker [?], a second-hand guy, a fellow who lives off other people's danger and death.
And then of course the way we're going to shoot it, we're going to shoot it without a script. I've written a script. I know the whole story. I know everything that happens. What I'm going to do is get the actors, in every situation, tell them what has happened up to this moment, who they are, and I believe that they will find what is true and inevitable from what I've said. We'll photograph that and go on to the next moment. We're gonna make the picture as though it were a documentary. The actors are gonna be improvising. You either get it or you don't, you know, it's uh...it can't take too long. I, I, I think the whole thing is eight weeks at the most. 'Cause it's got to be just that time - the time it really took.
Nobody's ever done it before, you know. There isn't, no, why, why do, you know, I've, I've improvised a scene with an actor or something, but to take a story like this and see if it'll work - all I know is how it ends and how it begins. I really know what I would make if I were photographing it and giving them page by page, but I'm gonna hide the script. I don't want them to know that. Because I think if the actors are right - and they have to be people of a certain kind of substance, 'cause they have to be actors used to being People, 'cause it's all about important people, people who are images, you know, a terrible word...all that - so we get those kind of actors together and say "here's the situation, here's what you did yesterday, here's what you did twenty years ago, here's what you think about him"...start shooting!
Because we've been cranking along in movies too long the same way, you know. It's the most old-fashioned business on Earth. It's a wonderful medium, but nobody's done anything new in it. And they're beginning to now, in France and so on, but they take a basic situation and they let, you know, there's a certain kind of freedom [he actually says "freeple" and rubs his eye], but I would like to take a whole story, give 'em group of people and see what happens within that. And what I've got is a very nice, solid, framework, which is a temporada, you know, the ferriers [?] and all that, and see what goes on.
The greatest things in movies are divine accidents. Sometimes I've had those accidents. You know, I made a picture in which somebody reached through a window in Touch of Evil and found the egg, the yolk of an egg, that uh, uh, uh, ah, a pigeon had dropped. And we made a whole scene about it, you know. You can do those kind of things, and then control them - but I want to go further. I want to find out what skilled, intelligent people - actors - can really do, being themselves - acting.
Question: And aren't you afraid, though, that the end result won't have any control and any form? I could -
Welles: Not a bit. No, I really am not. Not with all that going around it. Not with a, not with a firm line of, uh, of, uh, if you see, if you see a man on his way to death...and you must have known people like that...I don't mean on his way to death by reason of, ah, of fatal disease, but on his way to death truly. You see that man, you see how people will rea-...I think, I think, you may have many choices about how it will happen, but that end is as clear as anything in the world. What people have decided on their death, they've got it. And there's a terrible pull toward it. And you've got two people. And you've got and this is, uh, uh this is a picture about the love of death.
So we have a picture about those people who watch a bullfight, following one bullfighter or another. What are they doing? Are they waiting for his death? Are they waiting for him to rise into Heaven like a Saint? What strange instincts are motivating these people? Those people, who are light-headed and nonsensical and seriously evil, is living off, off of the idea of death.
So we have a picture about the people who live off bullfighting because they want money, and the people who live off bullfighting for emotional reasons, because they are living second-hand. They are experiencing life and death and sex in a second-hand way. And those people are our cast.
Sto Pro Veritate