Czech Republic, Slovakia


Under the burning sun, a solitary bull awaits tireless, whilst a man jumps deep into thedarkest waters of his persona, in their common attempt to defeat death.

In this silent visual poem, the massive body of a bull appears on the table of a meticulous taxidermist, having died in the hot sun in the middle of a bullfighting arena. Working with the body of an untamed animal, the man is inwardly transformed and finds in the animal's skin a way to cope with his own mortality and the transience of life.

Director's Statement

ASTERIÓN is a poem. It’s a hymn to life and death, to the eternal struggle, to the inner need of change and transformation, but also it’s a poem about the final death of a culture. It’s the story of a double fate, the one of the man and the one of the bull, both doomed to succumb to their own restless natures. The story of ASTERIÓN came to me when I started to connect the famous tale of Borges, The House of Asterión, with the traditional Spanish taxidermia taurina. I was fascinated by the depiction of a sensitive and caring Minotaur facing the aggressively virile masculinity of Theseus. At the end of the tale, Asterión decides not to resist his fatalistic end and he “scarcely defends himself” as an act of non-resistance while facing the true beast. Is this the role of contemporary man towards extreme virility? ASTERIÓN is the second step in my filmography into my own private investigation on masculinity, after Brotherhood. The film poem is a defragmentation of the masculinity of the bull, an animal turned into a restless virile beast, operated by a man, a delicate one, a taxidermist, exploring the virility into pieces, trying to find its source, but being ultimately trapped into his own hidden will, to become like the bull.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Francesco Montagner

Written by: Francesco Montagner

Produced by: Veronika Kührová, Michal Krácmer, Henrieta Cvangová, Juraj Krasnohorský

Cinematography: Michal Babinec

Editing: Jorge Sanchéz Caldéron

Production Design: Pilar Goméz, Claudia Cazzorla

Costume Design: Claudia Cazzorla

Visual Effects: Jaromír Drkal

Cast: Jose Luis Martín Moro (man)

Nominations and Awards

  • Short Film Candidates 2023