285 Great Directors: Joao Cesar Monteiro

“What happens when you live without the movies? You get poorer.”

Why This Director?
: Portuguese and meta in a supposedly different way, yes please.

My Last Experience Was…: Nope.

What Did I Watch: A Flor Do Mar (aka Hovering Over the Water).

Where Does He Fit: The colors in this film are so unusual, is it because of poor print quality or how he wanted it to look or both? Either way, the palette perfectly conjures up a world that is going through a lazy, hot summer by the water with a bright blue sky to boot. We get a Breathless homage out of the way early with someone calling NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, but from there, it turns into a very slow and luxurious pastel examination of the life of a widow who had sworn she’d never return to Portugal but is now back in her old house anyway. But even though it’s a nice enough slow work in the early stages, a man with an American accent washes ashore in a raft of sorts and things never look back from there. His hair color is unusual, the language barrier and his claims he’s not a murderer when he refuses to go to a hospital for a wound even more so. The film starts to quietly position itself as the anti-L’Avventura, warm instead of cold, a man appearing instead of a woman disappearing, existential angst in plenty of ways but the camera is so static. I can’t claim to understand everything that goes on, like the long conversation in between the first two meetings of the two mains that does not involve the guy on the beach, but the aesthetic is mesmerizing, Laura Morante’s performance is brilliant, and I do think one time actor Phillip Spinelli’s is productively flat.


Most Valuable Asset: Color has never been so unusual.
Most Excited For: Come and Go? Silvestre? God’s Comedy? Not much consensus.

Coming Up Next: Jacques Doillon’s young people.

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