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Come and Go

João César Monteiro
Vai e Vem
Portugal, France 2003 / 175’
Snow White

The Portuguese director's last film and his last cinematic journey, this time in the back seat of a city bus traveling around Lisbon. The brilliant sun coming through the window shines its magical light over and over again on the frail figure of the aging, ailing poet, sybarite and philosopher João Vuvu (Monteiro). The lonely widower takes the same route every day, but for him the routine is a ritual-interrupted on rare occasions by minor incidents. His life takes on new shades of meaning, however, when his son, who had been convicted of murder, gets out of jail. Elegiac but not devoid of humor and still provocative, Comeand Go is about leaving the frame: saying good-bye to cinema, the city and his body. We enter and exit, appear and disappear, and bus No. 100 will one day depart without us. Only memories will remain, which in this case is cinema, an image of the past recorded (still) on celluloid film. Monteiro's last film brings together the key themes of his work, reminds us that its basis is both poetry and slapstick comedy (the figures of Monteiro's Deus and Vuvu owe a great deal to the characters created by Buster Keaton). Of course, this filmmaking, which constantly infringes upon the sphere of the profane, would not be possible without a series of erotic adventures and conversations with women that culminate in a startling and sacrilegious sex act.

Małgorzata Sadowska


São Paulo IFF 2003 - Critics Award Best in Perspectives

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 Mário Barroso
editing Jõao Nicolau, Renata Sancho
cast Jõao César Monteiro, Rita Pereira Marques, Joaquina Chicau, Manuela de Freitas, Ligia Soares
producer Paulo Branco
production Madragoa Filmes, Gemini Films, Radiotelevisão Portugesa
sales NOS Audiovisuais
language Portuguese, Ukrainian, Spanish, Latin, Greek
colouration colour