Neon Bull

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    Neon Bull

    Boi neon

    Directed by

    Brazil, Uruguay, Netherlands


    101 min

    • Portuguese


    Iremar works at the “Vaquejadas”, a rodeo in the North East of Brazil where two men on horseback try bring down a bull by grabbing its tail. It’s dusty and back-breaking work, but Iremar is a natural vaqueiro feeding, prepping and taking care of the bulls. Home is the truck used to transport the animals from show to show which he shares with his coworkers; Galega, an exotic dancer, truck driver and mother to her spirited and cheeky daughter Cacá, and Zé, his rotund compadre in the bull pen. Together they form a makeshift but close-knit family. But Brazil and the Northeast are changing and the region’s booming clothing industry has stirred new ambitions in Iremar. Swinging in his hammock in the back of the truck, his head is filled with dreams of pattern cutting, sequins and exquisite fabrics as he mentally assembles his latest sexy fashion designs...


    Show All Awards Show Less Awards
    • Special Orizzonti Jury Award - Venice IFF
    • Honourable Mention (Platform) - Toronto IFF
    • Film Critic Award - Filmfest Hamburg
    • Best Fiction Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress (Alyne Santana) - Rio de Janeiro IFF
    • Best Feature Film - Adelaide FF
    • Best Film (Official Competition) - FICCI
    • Special Mention - Festival des 3 Continents Nantes
    • Special Mention, Magey Prize - FIC Guadalajara
    • FIPRESCI Prize - Transilvania IFF
    • Award for Artistic Bravery - Durban IFF
    • Best Script, Best Cinematography - Fénix Film Awards


    Labels & Line Ups


    Juliano Cazarré
    Maeve Jinkings
    Aline Santana
    Carlos Pessoa
    Vinicíus de Oliveira
    Gabriel Mascaro
    Diego Garcia
    Fernando Epstein
    Eduardo Serrano
    Carlos Montenegro
    Otávio Santos

    Director's Statement

    Amidst a recent wave of rapid economic growth, the film is an attempt to renovate the political and symbolic understanding of contemporary human relations in the Northeast of Brazil, where I grew up and have always lived. The “Vaquejada rodeo”—one of the largest agro-business events in Brazil—seems to provide a fitting allegory of the recent transformations affecting the region. Through the lives of characters trying to keep pace with a new scale of desires and aspirations, I want to explore colors and textures that demonstrate the contradictions of consumption and expanding notions of identity and gender. I hope that by embracing the lives of this group of vaqueiros, the cowhands who live on the road transporting bulls between “Vaquejadas” and working backstage at the event, NEON BULL throws new light on recent socio-economic and cultural changes. The film is a study of the body, light and the transformation of the human landscape.



    A fascinating exploration of body and gender norms.

    Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

    Unforgettable imagery.

    Peter Debruge, Variety

    Mascaro’s film is an auspicious, original, and absorbing work that thrills with its look into this little-seen world and the dreamers that inhabit it.

    Katie Walsh, Indiewire

    Dismantles preconceived notions of the northeast and its inhabitants while allowing the region’s distinctiveness to come through.

    Shari Kizirian, Keyframe


    Stephen Holden, The New York Times

    Gabriel Mascaro

    Gabriel Mascaro


    My interest in making films is crossing ethical borders, and how these ethical boundaries can be problematized within the film.

    Gabriel Mascaro (1983) lives and works in Recife (Brazil). His work explores hybrid narratives employing intriguing apparatus (dispositifs) that provoke complex and controversial political and aesthetic encounters that reflect on the negotiation of power relationships in their most diverse forms. Spanning cinema and the visual arts, his work has been shown at the Contemporary Art Museums of Barcelona and Vigo, at La Casa Escendida - Madrid, the 32nd Panorama of Brazilian Art at MAM-SP, Videobrasil and at important film festivals, such as Rotterdam, CPHDox, Oberhausen, Visions du Réel, IDFA, Munich, Jihlava, Bafici, Los Angeles, Miami, Indielisboa, Zurich and Bratislava. His work has been reviewed in various magazines, including Variety (USA), Cahiers du Cinema (FRA) and E-Flux (USA). Mascaro participated in the Videobrasil/Videoformes Artist in Residence Program (FRA) where he developed a series of video installations and is in pre-production of his first feature fiction film with support from Hubert Bals Fund (Rotterdam) and Ibermedia. He is known for HOUSEMAIDS (2013) and AUGUST WINDS (2014). His film NEON BULL (2015), awarded at the Venice IFF and Toronto IFF among others, was the big winner at FICCI in the Official Competition in 2016. His film DIVINE LOVE (2019) premiered in Sundance Film Festival and was presented in Berlinale Panorama.

    Selected Filmography