Neon Bull (Boi neon). 2015. Brazil/Uruguay/Netherlands. Directed by Gabriel Mascaro. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 101 min.
A rodeo movie unlike any other, Gabriel Mascaro’s Venice- and Toronto-prize-winning follow-up to his 2014 fiction debut August Winds tracks handsome cowboy Iremar (Juliano Cazarré) as he travels around to work at vaquejada rodeos, a Brazilian variation on the sport in which two men on horseback attempt to bring a bull down by its tail. Iremar dreams of becoming a fashion designer, creating flamboyant outfits for his co-worker, single mother Galega (Maeve Jinkings). Along with Galega’s daughter Cacá and a bullpen worker named Zé, these complex characters, drawn with tremendous compassion and not an ounce of condescension, make up an unorthodox family, on the move across the northeast Brazilian countryside. Sensitive to matters of gender and class, and culminating in one of the most audacious and memorable sex scenes in recent memory, Neon Bull is a quietly affirming exploration of desire and labor, a humane and sensual study of bodies at work and at play. A Kino Lorber release