Neon Bull

Neon Bull ★★★½

I found myself unexpectedly moved by this film, for reminding me so much of everything I experienced in Cuba six years ago. Staying in Guantanamo for nearly three weeks on my uncle's farm, which is outfitted with electricity in the most inventive and seemingly dangerous ways, I lived and worked for two weeks the life I would have probably lived had I never left the country with my family in 1980. From the manner in which Galega makes coffee, to the way the bulls are pounded on and walked over, to the way shit and grime clings to you from morning to night, the film articulates a tactile, lived-in sense of what it's like to live on the fringes of society. The intimacy of the micro-society it etches is expressive and humane, rich in nuances that feel deeply personal to the filmmaker. And the way Iremar, who wishes to be a fashion designer, works his passion into his workaday grind, reminded me of all the dreams my mother and father had but couldn't ever fulfill. I was endeared to Iremar because of his resourcefulness, even though I wish the plasticity to some of the film's set pieces felt a little more purposefully keyed to the process by which he creates his fashions.