Blood-Red Ox is a clever, very unusual, queer psycho-drama set in the Bolivian rain forest. Director Rodrigo Bellott tells a multi-layered horror story of handsome Lebanese-American journalist Amir (Mazin Akar), who travels down from New York to Bolivia with his hot American boyfriend Amat (Kaolin Bass), to meet his old friend Amancaya (Andrea Camponovo). She is involved with an environmental foundation in the Bolivian rainforest that is being targeted by big corporate saboteurs who want their land, and she wants Amir to write about the situation.
On the way from the airport to the rainforest, they come across an injured ox on the road which Amancaya shoots with her rifle to put the animal out of its misery. Amancaya then takes the men to her family’s house, deep in the rainforest. This is where they will be staying. They spend a few idyllic days there, hiking, socializing, skinny dipping, having sex, and learning about the environmental foundation’s important work, and the threats to its existence. So far, so good, but then events take a very dark turn when Amat starts having strange visions and loses his mind over the ghostly presence of a giant blood-red ox. Amir tries very hard to save his boyfriend from his paranoia but soon finds himself in a similar situation.
This is as much as I can tell you about the plot without giving away the story. The eventful, dark, and disturbing story will leave you very confused at times but clarity will prevail as the intelligence of the full plot is revealed at the end of the film. Meanwhile, you can sit back and enjoy the macabre, blood-soaked scenes involving very handsome fit men wearing very little at all in wonderful surroundings.
Bellott combines beautiful cinematography shot in the Bolivian rainforest, with a haunting, atmospheric soundtrack and a talented cast. His film takes inspiration from Bergman and also 1960s and 70s horror films by the likes of Polanski and Argento, and combines those with contemporary themes including environmental themes and issues around mental health. The resulting film is very clever and very different. You won’t have seen anything like this before. Highly recommended.
(PS Ris Fatah reviewed this at Miami's Outshine Film Festival, for future screenings check out Media Luna Films )
Review: Ris Fatah
Queerguru Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah
Labels: 2022, Bolivian, psycho-drama, review, Ris Fatah, Rodrigo Bellott