by João César Monteiro
Country: Portugal
Year: 1989
Duration: 119'

Lisbon, 1989. João de Deus is a destitute man living in a cheap
boarding house for families in the old part of town, near the Rejo river.
The man is sick and stricken by every possible adversity and spends
his days listening to Schubert. His only form of opposition to the
misery he lives in is his fervid love of films. When he tries to seduce
the daughter of the owner of the boarding house, he is kicked out
and put into a poorhouse.

“The character of João de Deus is somehow autobiographical, but
you have to remember that this is a work of fiction. He is like a sort of
hyperbolic projection of myself onto the screen. As though when I was
creating the character, I used a mirror that deformed my image, that
denigrated it, making it more dark and mocking. João is pathetic and
sordid but sometimes he’s noble, too. In fact, he is a very hedonistic
person with a deep love of life. And he is also suffering from a mental
illness that I think the entire Portuguese population suffers from.”


film director

João César Monteiro

João César Monteiro was born in Figueira da Foz on February 2, 1939. He was assistant director to Perdigão Queiroga for O Milionário. In 1963 he received a scholarship from the Galouste Gulbenkian Foundation to follow courses in cinema at the London School of Film Technique. He was active at film clubs and was a movie critic for various magazines and newspapers, including 'Imagem,' 'O Tempo e o Modo,' 'Cinefilo' and 'O Diario de Lisboa.' His sharp-tongued and irreverent critiques resulted, for example, in being kicked out of the Centro Português de Cinema for having affirmed that, with few exceptions, the directors of the Gulbenkian cooperative were 'monkeys in a zoo.' During the mid-1960's he began to frequent the 'group of Vá-Vá' (Lopes, Rocha, Cunha Telles, Vasconcelos and Seixas Santos). In 1967 shooting began on Quem Espera por Sapatos de Defunto Morre Descalço. He made his first film in 1968, the short Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, dedicated to the memory of Dreyer. Over twenty more films followed, both short and full-length, in which he often acted as well (in particular playing the part of João de Deus), constituting one of the largest cinematographic opuses ever.

He has written a collection of poems, Corpo Submerso (1958), and a collection of essays, Morituri te Salutant (1974). He was a collaborator of the magazine 'Trafic' until the death of its founder, Serge Daney. Monteiro died in February of this year after having completed his testament film Vai e Vem. A DVD edition of his entire opus, the rights to which he left to the producer of his last film, Paulo Branco, was released posthumously in Lisbon this year. This year, the book dedicated to the uncompleted project about La Philosophie dans le boudoir de Sade, was published posthumously in Lisbon.



Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (cm, 1968), Quem Espera Por Sapatos de Defunto Morre Descalço (mm, 1970), Fragmentos de Um Filme Esmola - A Sagrada Família (1972), As Armas e o Povo (opera collettiva, 1974), Que Farei Eu com Esta Espada? (1975), Veredas (1977), Os Dois Soldados (cm, serie TV Contos Tradicionais Portugueses, 1978-1979), O Amor das Três Romãs (cm, serie TV Contos Tradicionais Portugueses, 1978-1979) O Rico e o Pobre (cm, serie TV Contos Tradicionais Portugueses, (1978-1979), Silvestre (1981), À Flor do Mar (1986), Recordações da Casa Amarela (Ricordi della casa gialla,1989), A Água: O Último Mergulho (serie tv Os Quatros Elementos, 1992), A Comédia de Deus (La commedia di Dio, 1995), Bestiário ou o Cortejo de Orfeu (cm, 1996), Lettera amorosa (cm, 1996), Passeio com Johnny Guitar (cm, 1996), Le Bassin de John Wayne (1997), As Bodas de Deus (Le nozze di Dio, 1998), Branca de neve (2000), Vai e Vem (2003).


& Credits

regia, soggetto,
director, story, screenplay
João César Monteiro
José António Loureiro
montaggio/film editing
Helena Alves,
Claudio Martinez
production design
Luís Monteiro
Franz Schubert
Vasco Pimentel
interpreti e personaggi/
cast and characters
João César Monteiro
(João de Deus),
Manuela de Freitas
(Dona Violeta),
Ruy Furtado
(il signor/Mr Armando),
Teresa Calado (Julieta),
Duarte de Almeida
António Terrinha
(il dottore/Doctor),
Sabina Sacchi (Mimi),
Luís Miguel Cintra (Lívio)
João Pedro Bénard,
Joaquim Pinto