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Song of Love and Health (2009)

Canção de amor e saúde (original title)
João is an indolent young man, whose life is desperately empty. Day after day he goes through the motions of duplicating keys in his tiny shop concealed in the basement of an obsolete ... See full summary »


João Nicolau


João Nicolau
1 win. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Norberto Lobo Norberto Lobo ... João Morais
Marta Sena Marta Sena ... Marta Do Monte
Ana Francisca Ana Francisca ... Loura / Arbitra
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tiago Abelha Tiago Abelha ... Público Ténis
André Afonso André Afonso ... Público Ténis
Rita Almendra Rita Almendra ... Público Ténis
Duarte Amorim de Oliveira Duarte Amorim de Oliveira ... Público Ténis
Katarina Bajc Katarina Bajc ... Público Ténis
Andreia Bertini Andreia Bertini ... Primeira Cliente do Dia
Constança Blanc Constança Blanc ... Público Ténis
Argilda Cabral Argilda Cabral ... Público Ténis
Diogo Cabral Diogo Cabral ... Público Ténis
Sofia Caldeira Sofia Caldeira ... Público Ténis
Helena Carneiro Helena Carneiro ... Cliente Mistériosa
Emanuel Castro Emanuel Castro ... Público Ténis


João is an indolent young man, whose life is desperately empty. Day after day he goes through the motions of duplicating keys in his tiny shop concealed in the basement of an obsolete nearly deserted shopping center. Some day, he hopes, the lady of his heart will come and order the key that will unlock his heart. Against all expectation, the miracle happens... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

key | basement | darkness | song | mall | See All (9) »


Short | Romance




Portugal | France


French | Portuguese

Release Date:

1 April 2010 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

Chanson d'amour et de bonne santé See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


French visa # 121942. See more »


Marta Do Monte: I am like a jay: out for the night, sleep in the day.
João: I don't go out.
Marta Do Monte: And what do you do while you're at home?
João: I read books about jays.
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Written by Nacio Herb Brown abd Gordon Clifford (1931)
Performed by Roy Smeck
Produced by Leo Feist - ASCAP
[From album "Adventures in Paradise"]
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User Reviews

A fable, but not a fabulous one.
14 February 2013 | by guy-bellingerSee all my reviews

If you read the summary of "Canção de Amor e Saude (Song of Love and Health)", Portuguese writer/director João Nicolau's second short, before viewing the film, you are bound to be misled. A brief description of the story indeed suggests a typical romance : João is a lonesome, slightly depressed young man, who wastes his days cutting keys in the basement of an obsolete shopping mall. Going through the motions of his job, he dreams of great love in secret. Vain dreams, it might be thought. Not at all in fact since love does come - quite unexpectedly for sure - into his life. This big feeling materializes in the person of Marta do Monte, a fine arts student, who, one morning, asks him to duplicate a key for an art project - a key that could open on to other worlds as well. And... ah! cha ba da ba da...! But you no sooner sit comfortably before your screen, preparing to feel good by the two thirds of the movie, than you realize that this love story framework is nothing but a smoke screen. From the very first sequence you indeed become aware that the filmmaker is less interested in telling his tale than in experimenting on HOW TO tell it. In other words, you realize that form (and style) will triumph over substance. Or at least that the substance will not be given to you in a straightforward manner. And for sure nothing partakes of the usual way to narrate a boy meets girl yarn. The tone for starters is definitely NOT realistic. The mall, for instance, the place where most of the "action" is set, has ghost town overtones. Although filming took place in the very real Brasilia Shopping Center in Porto, it does not make you feel like going shopping there: the place is nearly deserted (only two shopkeepers, the voice of another and two female customers are to be seen for twenty-odd minutes ; it is all red in a surrealistic sequence, etc). Obviously, the mall is rather the pictorial representation of João's mind than a place to go shopping. Likewise, the appearance of love in the young man's life is allegoric (the key to duplicate is also more mental than physical) , not lifelike. The trouble (at least for this writer, for "Song of Love and Health" has been honored with several prizes) is that once you have realized that the film is not to be taken literally, a fat lot of good it does ! Okay, the style is original. All right, this is an allegory, not a simple story. But what on earth is this fable supposed to mean? Never take action since good things come to those who wait? The world will be saved by contemporary artists? Or could it mean nothing at all and be art for art's sake? But if that is the case, this artistic object should at least be beautiful or entertaining or challenging. Which, in this writer's eyes, it is not. Too bad because, as a result of going nowhere, Nicolau loses most of his viewers whereas he had managed to hook them by a very intriguing beginning. All in all, this is a forgettable movie experience. But not a hopeless one: João Nicolau does display several qualities in this oddity : a sense of the zany and the bizarre, a knack for incongruous dialogue, a talent for creating an intriguing atmosphere. He also proves a good actor director (Norberto Lobo shines as João, the daydreaming bearded beanpole). Let's simply hope that in future he will put all these qualities in the service of meatier material.

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