Every Christmas Eve million Swedes gather to watch the film about The Story of Ferdinand. What few know is that the friendly bull existed in real life – but his fate was quite different from the tale.
This is the story of the peaceful bull’s fate, from growing up under the oak trees on the fields outside of Salamanca, to the legendary bullfight where he was pardoned in front of 24,000 cheering people.
So far, it is true with the Disney film. But what happened next?
The civil war in Spain broke out while the bull, which in reality was called Civilon, “The Civile”, was pardoned. The stories of his ultimate fate differs depending on who you ask. Slaughtered by Franco’s soldiers? Or shot by the “Red”? Was he set on a new fight in Valencia, or did he return to his cork oaks and make love to cows until he died of old age?
We meet the family who cuddled with the friendly Civilon in the pasture, the grandchild to the nurse who joined the fateful journey to the stadium, and the man who actually saw the bullfight in 1936 and have never forgotten. They all have their own history.
And we meet, of course, the beloved bull in a unique newly discovered film.
Photo: Johan Palmgren
Cut: Petter Brundell
Music: David Ricci
Producer: Åsa Blanck
Project leader SVT: Charlotte Hellstrom