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Recollections of the Yellow House

João César Monteiro
Recordações de Casa Amarela
Portugal 1989 / 122’
Hovering Over the Water The Last Dive

The Silver Lion-winning film at Venice that gave rise to João de Deus: the happy-go-lucky fetishist, home-grown philosopher andbon vivantplayed by the director himself. Residing in a cheap room in the eponymous guest house, he spends his days bar hopping, wandering city alleys and hanging out at hotels that charge by the hour in search of a good time in the company of young girls. Assuming the name of the patron saint of fishermen, the mentally ill and prostitutes, João chooses the sphere of the profane, the space of personal freedom and artistic provocation. Recollections of the Yellow House is a great introduction to Monteiro's style, which not only seamlessly combines various artistic disciplines in his erudite films, but also the low and the high, such as when the protagonist's lewd fantasies (his burning sexual desire for the daughter of the owner of the house) are accompanied by the music of Franz Schubert. The title building was built from numerous references: such as to a famous painting by Van Gogh, who lived and painted in a similar "yellow house" that was ruled by a strict owner. In some languages, the term "yellow house" is also used to refer to psychiatric hospitals, and João certainly has a little craziness in him, at least in the eyes of a society whose rules he so gracefully calls into question.

Małgorzata Sadowska


Venice IFF 1989 - Silver Lion

João César Monteiro

Jõao César Monteiro (1939-2003), one of Europe's most original and at the same time least-known filmmakers, was a director, actor, critic, writer and poet. He studied at the London Film School, though his work can't be attributed to any particular film school. His individual, erudite, eccentric and sometimes controversial films benefit from poetry, philosophy, theater and painting. If you were to look for cinematic inspirations in his work, then Buster Keaton would undoubtedly be one of the key figures for Monteiro. Raised during the time of the Salazar dictatorship, Monteiro aimed his stories, laced with black humor, at the guardians of public morality: the church, the state, the family. He pursued in his first films the sources of national foundation myths before later creating on screen the figure of a profane saint, João de Deus, who owes his name to the patron saint of prostitutes, fishermen and the mentally ill. As Haden Guest wrote, de Deus embodies the contradictions in the Portuguese director's work: an austere dandyism, a religious perversity, a sense of comic tragedy, a type of slapstick fatalism.

Selected filmography

1969 Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (dokument)

1975 Que Farei eu com Esta Espada? / What Shall I do with This Sword? (dokument)

1978 Veredas / Paths

1981 Silvestre

1986 Kwiat morza / À Flor do Mar / Hovering Over the Water

1989 Wspomnienia z Żółtego Domu / Recordações da Casa Amarela / Recollections of the Yellow House

1992 Ostatnie zanurzenie / O Último Mergulho / The Last Dive

1995 Komedia Deusa / A Comédia de Deus / God's Comedy

1997 Biodra Johna Wayne'a / Le Bassin du J.W. / The Hips of J.W.

1998 Śluby Deusa / As Bodas de Deus / God's Wedding

2000 Królewna Śnieżka / Branca de Neve / Snow White

2003 Odejścia i powroty / Vai e Vem / Come and Go

Cast & Crew

director João César Monteiro
screenplay Jõao César Monteiro
cinematography José António Loureiro
editing Helena Alves, Claudio Martinez
cast Jõao César Monteiro, Manuela de Freitas, Ruy Furtado, Teresa Calado, António Terrinha
producer Jõao Pedro Bénard, Joaquim Pinto
production Invicta Filmes
sales NOS Audiovisuais
language Portuguese
colouration colour