Neon Bull: Behind the Scenes of Brazilian Rodeo

Two films from this year’s main program are part of a real boom of Latin American film which marked this year’s Venice Film Festival – the festival’s main award, the Golden Lion went to the film From Afar by Lorenzo Vigas (Venezuela, Mexico), and the Horizons section awarded the film Neon Bull by Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil, Uruguay, the Netherlands).

Neon Bull is a wildly sensual and enchanting glimpse behind the stage of Brazilian rodeo. The story focuses on Iremar who works in vaquejada, the traditional Brazilian rodeo in which two cowboys compete who will put the bull to the ground as precisely and skilfully as possible. Iremar is in charge of the bulls. He lives in a truck transporting animals, shared with his colleagues: Galego, an exotic dancer, truck driver and mother of a lively and mischievous girl, and Zé, another groomer. The three of them comprise an unusual, but closely bound family. However, the northeast of Brazil changes and with them Iremar, as well. The development of textile industry awakes new ambitions. Swinging in his hammock in the back of the truck, he dreams of different designs, sequins and magnificent fabrics, creating in his head his own sexy designs.

The film was directed by Gabriel Mascaro, whose first film August Winds premiered in Locrno. Neon Bull is his second feature narrative, which earned him a jury special mention in Venice’s Horizons section, and the film was shown at Toronto International Film Festival as well.