João César Monteiro

João César Monteiro was a Portuguese film director, actor, writer and film critic. He was born in Figueira da Foz in February 2, 1939 and died of cancer in Lisbon on February 3, 2003.

Life and career

João César Monteiro was born into a family with anti-clerical and anti-fascist ideals. His family moved to Lisbon when Monteiro was 15 years old to enable him to continue his studies. In 1963, with a grant from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Monteiro traveled to Great Britain to study at the London School of Film Technique. In 1965 in Portugal, he began work on his first film, Quem Espera por Sapatos de Defunto Morre Descalço (Who Waits for the Deceased's Shoes Dies Barefoot), which would not be finished for five years due to financial problems. At the same time, he made the short documentary "Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen", about a Portuguese poet. Monteiro also wrote film criticism for periodicals like Imagem, Diário de Lisboa and O Século.
His first feature film was Fragmentos de um Filme Esmola: A Sagrada Família (1972). In 1981 he made Silvestre, an adaptation of traditional Portuguese folk stories. "Silvestre" was shown at the Venice Film Festival and was an important step in his international recognition. À Flor do Mar (1986), featuring Laura Morante, was shown at the Salsomaggiore Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize. Monteiro returned to the Venice Film Festival in 1989 with Recordações da Casa Amarela (Silver Lion), a film that marked the introduction of the character João de Deus. In 1992 he made O Último Mergulho - esboço de filme, featuring Fabienne Babbe. A Comédia de Deus (Venice Film Festival, 1995), As Bodas de Deus (1999 Cannes Film Festival),[1] Branca de Neve (Venice Film Festival,, 2000) and Vai e Vem (Cannes Film Festival, 2003) were his last works. Branca de Neve (Snow White) was highly controversial because much of the film consists of a black screen, although a densely composed audio track plays throughout.


His work, polemic and hard to classify, has a lyric quality that some identify as "film-poem", however his work is often satirical and cynical. He plays the principal character in many of his films. The quality of his work has been a subject of study by Portuguese and international critics and academicians, and he is recognised, along with Manoel de Oliveira, as one of the most important Portuguese directors.


Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen (documentary, 1969)
Quem Espera por Sapatos de Defunto Morre Descalso (short, 1971)
Fragmentos de um Filme-Esmola: A Sagrada Família (1972)
Que Farei com Esta Espada? (1975)
Amor de Mãe (1975)
Os Dois Soldados (short, 1978)
Veredas (1978)
O Amor das Três Romãs (short, 1979)
O Rico e o Pobre (short, 1979)
Silvestre (1982)
À Flor do Mar (1986)
Recordações da Casa Amarela (1989)
O Último Mergulho (1992)
Passeio com Johnny Guitar (short, 1995)
Lettera amorosa (short, 1995)
O Bestiário ou o Cortejo de Orpheu (short, 1995)
A Comédia de Deus (1995)
Le Bassin de John Wayne (1997)
As Bodas de Deus 1999
Branca de Neve (2000)
Vai e Vêm (2003)


Corpo Submerso (1959)
Morituri te Salutant (1974)
Le Bassin de John Wayne (1998)
As Bodas de Deus (1998)
Uma Semana Noutra Cidade (1999)

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