// Presented as part of Filmatique's Queer Cinema Series //
Spotlight on Neon Bull
Exclusive Essay: Non-/Human Hinterlands in Neon Bull
Gabriel Mascaro / 2015, Venice, Adelaide, BAFICI - Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, BFI London, Camerimage, Cartagena, Chicago, Durban, Festival de Cinema Luso-Brasileiro de Santa Maria da Feira, FNC - Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Fribourg, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Havana, Jeonju, Karlovy Vary, Lima, Marrakech, Melbourne, New Directors/New Films, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Sarajevo, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Transilvania, Tromsø, Vienna, Warsaw, Zagreb, Zurich / 101'
Iremar works in the rarefied, exclusively male world of the vaquejada, a sport native to northern Brazil in which cowboys attempt to bring bulls to the ground by their tails. He travels with these animals, feeds them, and dusts their tails before they run. However, in his free time Iremar rummages for loose fabric and mannequin parts among isolated dumping fields. As the monotony of his day job sets in, Iremar is increasingly enchanted by the idea of designing costumes for exotic dancers, starting with his close friend Galega.
Evoking northeast Brazil's rural traditions alongside dreams of its burgeoning fashion industry, and attuned to the commodification of bodies across species, Neon Bull deconstructs conventional notions of masculinity through its oneiric, sensuous portrayal of a man suspended between a region's past and its future. Gabriel Mascaro's second narrative feature premiered at Venice, where it won a Special Jury Prize; Marrakech, where it won Best Director; Lima, where it won Best Cinematography; Havana, where it won a Special Jury Prize; Rio de Janeiro, where it won Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress and Best Cinematography; Toronto, where it won an Honorable Mention; and Transilvania, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize.
"With scalpel-like precision, Gabriel Mascaro's second narrative feature frankly yet effortlessly explores sexuality, environmental issues, and suffering both human and animal"
- Violet Lucca, Film Review, Film Comment