João de Deus is the manager of an ice-cream shop owned by an ex-prostitute, Paraíso dos Gelados (Ice-Cream Paradise). Through a unmoved desire of perfection, he seeks, through cleansing and... See full summary »
João César Monteiro
João César Monteiro,
Manuela de Freitas
The artist, Antonio Lopez, tries to paint the quince tree he planted some time back in his garden. Throughout his life, he has worked on the same theme many times, almost as if it were a ... See full summary »
In my quest to understand Monteiro, I went back a bit to catch his first feature length film, and bang, another surprise, he did start with avant garde! If something could ever exist called abstract black humor, this is it, and this one surely has all the indications of the perverse poet inside him. This is pure experiment, with sound, with camera, with narrative, with light, and what not, but at the same time maintaining an overall tone of garish humor. Monteiro provokes his audience, appearing at the very beginning to brandish his middle finger after its claimed on screen that the film "was rehearsed with his balls squeezed tightly" by João César Monteiro, and he does it with a swagger that'll make you chuckle and feel insulted at the same time! Let me admit that I did not unravel the entire film, and I believe the dense dialog makes it impossible to do so at the first attempt, but Monteiro's style still touches you and his deep yet perverse musings evoke the very unique reaction that only his films are capable of. It is like he is erasing boundaries constantly, mixing the immiscible, smudging the colors to produce one single whole, and exactly so does his narrative, apparently disjointed fragments covering different sequences coming together to form a complete picture of love, innocence and oddity, three properties that define the family at the center of things. All of it is shot with the unique perspective laced with subtle humor that seems to be Monteiro's forte and presents before us a part-surreal, part-beautiful, part-vicious, and part-oblique study of the interdependent cogs of society, family and politics. I need to revisit the film just to fully understand the monologue as the subtitles were freaking difficult to understand! Now that's a first, and hence I'm guessing the Portuguese in this movie must have been of the choicest and most elegant quality.
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