Embodying Decolonial Salvage in the Sertão of Boi neon and the American West of The Rider

  • David M. Mittelman United States Air Force Academy
Keywords: Decoloniality, Brazil, American West, Gabriel Mascaro, Chloé Zhao


The water-scarce regions of the Western United States and the sertões of Northeastern and Central Brazil have been alternately imagined asrepresenting the promise and limits of their imperial nations. This article compares how two recent films, Gabriel Mascaro’s Boi neon and Chloé Zhao’s The Rider, represent these regions as spaces of vital possibility, salvaging from the colonially-inspired sports of vaquejada and rodeo materials from which to refashion gendered embodiment and define the West and sertão as stages for decolonial projects of cultural salvage.