This is a strikingly original piece of work. Both in its overall tone and in how it portrays (what I would call) a certain sickening "malaise" of our age's urban solitary Man.
This is where the João de Deus character (almost his alter-ego) first shows up in Monteiro's "oeuvre". Yes, it can be said that this film depicts some of Man's most shamingly unconfessed little dirty everyday sleaziness. But it does so in a hauntingly poetic way: there's somewhat of (what might be called) "aesthetics of all things disgusting" to it, which would reach its peak in Monteiro's own A BACIA DE J.W.
João de Deus undergoes some sordid humiliation and proceeds to enact or abide by the politics of slimy (but classy and literate) seduction. It's the "classy" and "literate" factors that prevent this film from being annoyingly disgusting (it's not "what" you do but "how" you do it)
There's also the lust of decadence as he's comfortably numbed into an ever materially and psychologically degrading state, starting from when he has to flee the flat he was paying for after a uniquely poetic and shy seduction/rape scene.
It's quite possibly the best Portuguese film I've seen. And there's much of the proverbial Portuguese dreaming and poetic melancholy (even sadness) tone in that there's shootings of the narrow typical Lisbon streets and recreations of some (not so typical) fate-ridden scenes (fate means "fado") so closely and frequently attached to the Portuguese.
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