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TIFF 2015 Review: Neon Bull

Gabriel Mascaro’s Neon Bull feels exactly like a documentary in which the filmmaker has been given completely intimate access into the rodeo circuit.

The Brazilian director somehow manages to make incredibly long takes feel somewhat less than voyeuristic. This despite focusing on some incredibly intimate mating aspects of both horses and of humans.

The most obviously explicit scene is the attempt to make a bull spill some of his seed into a small bucket. But the resulting incident, while of course comic, seems almost wondrous instead.

The most interesting aspect of Neon Bull is that Mascaro makes the bold choice to place a child into the centre of the action, and what is more, a young girl with the name of Cacá (Alyne Santana), who is fantastic, a natural find. But yet we still wonder about the kind of education she is receiving, or to be honest, what kind of effect the film has on the actress that is playing her.

Clearly, the child is struggling without a father, and the interactions with her mother make for some funny and yet reflective feelings. But some of the scenes, (most, actually), are wondrous and eye-catching and everything that film needs to be to feel immersive, without needing to resort to 3D or DBox technology.

Neon Bull is a masterwork and we’re the China Shop.

[star v=45]