Neon Bull is a new favourite film. A gorgeous cornucopia of images naturally surreal, the film is about a group of travelling workers in the Brazilian rodeo. The story ultimately enters around the vaquejada Iremar and his encounters throughout the rodeo circuit.
The film is lusciously shot. From the musculature of the bulls, to the vastness of consumer debris, the film is a sensual delight. Writer-director Gabriel Mascaro takes us into the natural, animalistic world of the rodeo, stunning us with the power of the bulls, as well as its surreal counterparts as humans invigorate such rodeo imagery though light, colour, and sound.
The film is subtly brilliant in many ways. Through the episodic plot, we see motifs surface here and there to underscore the film’s themes of spectacle, both natural and surreal. Attention to hair, both of the animals and Iremar’s coworkers illustrate the various ways humans preen themselves and others alike to sell a spectacle. Indeed, the neon bull of the title refers not just to the neon bull of the film, but the men and women who populate the very rodeo, animals primed for display.
Come to the film and let its imagery wash over you. It might just be the best film from TIFF15.