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2025 Broadcast Honors Submissions Now Open

Strange and erotic, with an unexpected view of gender roles, this film is set in the macho world of bull wrangling yet its male protagonist is interested in fashion and designs dresses. In dusty farmland with scattered signs of heavy industrialization in Northeast Brazil, a cowhand, Iremar, nurtures his passion on the side. Drawing clothes on women in a co-worker’s nudie magazine and toting mannequins with him in the back of a truck while taking bulls around the rodeo circuit, he pursues his true calling. When a handsome new worker comes to help, a hothouse atmosphere erupts among the small group of cowboys. Director Gabriel Mascaro’s film depicts an environment where most animals endure harsh treatment, but within that reality, steamy fantasy abounds; for example, Iremar designs the provocative horse-themed costumes his truck-driving boss Galega wears in the sexy dance routines she performs at the end of each rodeo. Depictions of the carnal don’t end there in a film less focused on story than on provocative impressionistic vignettes. As Neon Bull plays with gender norms and stereotypical ideas of masculinity within the virile world of the rodeo, this disquieting drama, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, evokes a way of life where it is possible to follow one’s dreams. (San Francisco)