Cinema Português I
The school of reis

Friday 12 oct 6.30 pm Filmmuseum München

The legacy of the legendary Portuguese filmmakers António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro is the focus of the 13th edition of UNDERDOX. Two programmes, developed in collaboration with Miguel Valverde (Indielisboa Festival), present the traditions of Portuguese cinema after the dictatorship and their influence on the younger generation.

Pedro Costa is the bridge figure between the generations. The director of O sangue (The Blood) (1989) and the Fontaínhas trilogy (1997-2005) created a highly cinematographic chiaroscuro in semi-fictional close-ups of the Cape Verdean immigrants and has been regarded as a pioneer of both poetic and political cinema ever since. Miguel Gomes' masterly crisis trilogy As Mil e Uma Noites (1001 Nights) (2015) or João Pedro Rodrigues' phantasmagoric Ornitólogo (The Ornithologist) (2016) followed.
Costa, Gomes and Rodrigues are students of the influential but in this country hardly known Portuguese filmmaker António Reis, who with his wife, the psychiatrist Margarida Cordeiro, created the most important works immediately after the Salazar dictatorship. Reis taught at the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema from 1977 until his death in 1991. The "School of Reis" (Haden Guest, Harvard Film Archive) and the unmistakable style of an ethnographic cinema were named after him, which produced narratively liberated hypnotic-suggestive iconographies that seem both sensual and radical.
João César Monteiro, who died in 2003, created an unusually sarcastic and socially critical work for Portugal after ethnographic films that had been made under the direct influence of Reis. For their part, Reis and Cordeiro had studied with Manuel de Oliveira and the founders of Cinema Novo, Fernando Lopes and Paolo Rocha, so that the glorious beginnings of Lusitanian cinema also had an impact on film-making today.

(Dunja Bialas)

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen


João César Monteiro
Portugal 1969
35mm – 17 min – Portuguese
B: João César Monteiro – P: Ricardo Malheiro – Mit Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

Part of a series of short-films dedicated to relevant personalities of Portuguese arts and literature produced by the company Cultura Filmes with support from the Gulbenkian Foundation. Monteiro, at the time with no references besides having frequented the London School of Film Technique (1963–65), was recommended to Ricardo Malheiro, the owner of Cultura Filmes and himself a director of documentary shorts, by Alberto Seixas Santos and António Pedro Vasconcelos.
Dedicated to the memory of Carl Theodor Dreyer.

"I suppose that it is the proof for those willing to understand that poetry is not filmable and there is no point in pursuing it. What is filmable is always something else that may or may not have a poetic quality. My film is the realization of this impossibility, and this uncompromising shame makes it, I believe, poetic, malgré-lui. I also believe that much more than a movie about Sophia, who for me only in a random way is part of it, my film is a film about cinema and its matter."
(João César Monteiro)

Quem Espera por Sapatos de Defunto Morre Descalço
Whoever Runs After a Dead Man's Shoes Dies Barefoot


João César Monteiro
Portugal 1970
German Premiere
35mm – 34 min
B+P: João César Monteiro – Mit Luís Miguel Cintra

The tribulations of two friends who, in despair, start begging from door-to-door, and are given a bundle including, literally, a pair of deadman's shoes.
The film is attributed to Cinema Novo.



António Reis
Portugal 1974
35mm – 35 min
B: António Reis – P: Henrique Espírito Santo – Mit Evangelina Gil Delgado, Jaime Fernandes

A photographic portrait, views of the central courtyard of an asylum, footage of water and nature, sketches of one-eyed creatures, half-human, half animal, as well as handwritten notes over which the camera calmly glides, all accompanied off-screen by the sound of wind, sparse witness testimonies and music deliberately used as a counterpoint (Louis Armstrong, Telemann and Stockhausen).
This is not biographical reconstruction but rather immersion in the places connected with and unbounded fantasies of the film’s deceased protagonist: agricultural worker Jaime Fernandes (1900–1969), who spent 30 years of his life in a psychiatric clinic in Lisbon. In his last few years, he completed countless drawings which are now seen as outsider art.
Margarida Cordeiro noticed his work whilst working there as a psychiatrist. She acted as assistant director on this first collaboration with António Reis. (Arsenal Institute)

A Mãe
The Mother


João César Monteiro
Portugal 1979
German Premiere
35mm – 27 min – Portuguese
K: Manuel Costa e Silva – T: João Canedo – S: Maria José Pinto – Mit Elza Ferreira, Maria Clementina Teixera, César Luís Lavrador

One of Monteiro’s first essays on the universe of Portuguese oral culture, folktales and obscure colloquialisms. The plot revolves around a traditional tale about theft, greed, an ubiquitous mother, and the links between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Shot in Lebução in the municipality of Valpaços during Christmas week 1978.

Passeio com o Johnny Guitar
Promenade with Johnny Guitar


João César Monteiro
Portugal 1995
German Premiere
35mm – 4 min – With Max Monteiro

Lord knows where João de Deus has been. He's come home wounded in the head. He's got a bit of the soundtrack to Johnny Guitar in his head. Strangely enough, there is no sign of the hole in his head. Day breaks over the city. Further strolls are in sight. It is said that Mr. Monteiro, the alter ego of John of God, occasionally goes out with Nicholas Ray. At least, they've been seen together. (Cannes Film Festival, 1995)

O Bestiário ou o Cortejo do Orfeu
Bestiary, Or the Parade of Orpheus


João César Monteiro
Portugal 1995
German Premiere
35mm – 7 min – With Raquel Ascensão, João César Monteiro

One of the adventures of João de Deus, main character of Monteiro's sarcastic late work. The title refers to the poem collection "Le Bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée" by French avant-garde poete Guillaume Apollinaire.

Lettera Amorosa


João César Monteiro
Portugal 1995
Deutsche Erstaufführung
35mm – 6 min – Mit João César Monteiro, Cláudia Teixeira

A man receives a visit from a young woman who brings him presents.

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