Brazilian director Gabriel Mascaro’s new film Neon Bullan official selection of the 45th New Directors/New Films, will open here at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on April 8. Following its release, we are pleased to present the work of this exciting new auteur in Gabriel Mascaro: Ebbs and Flows (April 15-21).

With an eye for indelible images and a keen understanding of often-invisible social structures, Mascaro has emerged in recent years as one of the foremost chroniclers of contemporary Brazil. In a career that’s straddled both documentary and narrative, he has probed his country’s class divisions, changing landscapes, and sexual norms—always with a fearless intellectual curiosity and a sensuous visual palette.

Tickets and discount packages will be available for purchase later this month. Series organized by Dennis Lim.

Neon Bull / Boi neon
Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil/Uruguay/Netherlands, 2015, 101m
Portuguese with English subtitles
A rodeo movie unlike any other, Gabriel Mascaro’s follow-up to his 2014 fiction debut August Winds tracks handsome cowboy Iremar (Juliano Cazarré) as he travels around to work at vaquejada rodeos, a Brazilian variation on the sport in which two men on horseback attempt to bring a bull down by its tail. Iremar dreams of becoming a fashion designer, creating flamboyant outfits for his co-worker, single mother Galega (Maeve Jinkings). Along with Galega’s daughter Cacá and a bullpen worker named Zé, these complex characters, drawn with tremendous compassion and not an ounce of condescension, make up an unorthodox family, on the move across the northeast Brazilian countryside. Sensitive to matters of gender and class, and culminating in one of the most audacious and memorable sex scenes in recent memory, Neon Bull is a quietly affirming exploration of desire and labor, a humane and sensual study of bodies at work and at play. A New Directors/New Films 2016 selection. A Kino Lorber release.
Opens April 8

Housemaids. Photo courtesy of Icarus Films.

Housemaids. Photo courtesy of Icarus Films.


Gabriel Mascaro: Ebbs and Flows

August Winds / Ventos de Agosto
Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil, 2014, 77m
Portuguese with English subtitles
Mascaro’s first narrative work is a sultry, richly sensorial meditation on sex, death, and decay in the tropics. In a remote seaside village, a steamy love affair between a city girl (Dandara de Morais) and a country boy (Geová Manoel dos Santos) unfolds on a lush coconut farm—until their languor is interrupted by a chilling discovery. Though working from a script, Mascaro’s documentary impulse prevails in his attention to the tempestuous meteorology (the director himself plays a scientist researching the winds) and weather-beaten landscapes of coastal Brazil in the climate-change era. Through stunningly composed images, he creates a haunting portrait of a place where life can be washed away at any moment.

Avenida Brasília Formosa
Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil, 2010, 85m
Portuguese with English subtitles
Interweaving tales of memories, dreams, and desires play out amid a rapidly changing urban landscape in Mascaro’s vivid blend of documentary and fiction. Displaced from their homes to make way for the construction of a highway, residents of a poor neighborhood in Recife—including a fisherman, a young boy, and a hairdresser intent on reality TV stardom—press on with their lives, while around them their neighborhood is transformed. Mascaro’s eye for moments of everyday poetry enhances this strikingly shot portrait of a resilient community, which is rich with the vibrant sights and sounds of the favela.

High-Rise / Um Lugar ao Sol
Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil, 2009, 71m
Portuguese with English subtitles
In Brazil, a country riddled with poverty, a select few soar above it all. Using the modern high rise as a metaphor for income inequality, Mascaro talks to an assortment of the wealthiest: penthouse owners who tower, both literally and metaphorically, over everyone else. From their castles in the sky, these elites offer candid, sometimes jaw-dropping thoughts on status, social inequity, and their own situations. Visually, Mascaro achieves a dizzying study of verticality, capturing the buildings’ vertiginous architecture and their impact on the urban landscape. The result is a provocative, poetic reflection on power, privilege, and life at the top.

Housemaids / Doméstica
Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil, 2012, 76m
Portuguese with English subtitles
For this provocative social experiment, Mascaro armed seven teenagers with movie cameras in order to film their live-in maids for a week. From the footage they shot, he assembled this eye-opening portrait of deep-seated class divisions within the Brazilian home. As the housekeepers carry out their daily work, they reveal intimate, sometimes painful details about their personal lives and their complex relationships to the families they work for. The results are alternately humorous and heartbreaking, cutting to the core of entrenched social hierarchies inextricably bound to race, gender, and Brazil’s colonialist history.

Screening with:

Ebb and Flow / A Onda Traz, O Vento Leva
Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil/Spain, 2014, 29m
Portuguese with English subtitles
Rodrigo, a young deaf man with HIV, lives in Recife with his mother and 4-year-old daughter and has a job installing car stereos in the outskirts of the city. His daily motions draw us into a journey made up of ordinary experiences, yet they also reveal subtle layers of his character as Mascaro captures his expressive body in movement—while he signs to a friend, deftly fixes a stereo system, or dances to the vibrations of surrounding music.