João César Monteiro (1939-2003) is one of the most eccentric, independent, and, at the same time, least recognized persons in the European cinema.
The author of dark, perverse tales (Maria de Medeiros debuted in 1981's Silvestre) in which he exposed the violent foundations of collective imagination of the Portuguese nation. A melancholic immersed in the blue (the hypnotizing Flower of the Sea of 1986 features the young Teresa Villaverde who later became a film director). The creator of black 'divine' comedies where he played the João de Deus. Taking the name of the patron of fishermen, prostitutes, and mentally ill, the main character spends time in cheap bars, poor alleys, and hotels for hours, looking for fun and company of young girls. As a skinny fetishist, a clown, a home-grown philosopher, and bon vivant, João (Recollections of the Yellow House, God's Comedy, or Vai~E~Vem), challenges the church, the state and the family. With his bold choice of the profanum, he proves that this is the only way to find the glimpse of freedom and divinity, or, simply, of poetry. His Snow White (2000), inspired by Robert Walser's prose, is one of the most radical films in the history of cinema where the medium is tested to the limits - for most of the time, a black screen is shown, and the viewers listen to the voices coming off the screen.