GROUP B

Info

Original Title: Recordações da Casa Amarela
Country: Portugal
Director: João César Monteiro
Release: 1989
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Language: Portuguese

22.12.2019: This review was first published on 26.04.2018 and is being updated for a more complete review, together with the publishing of the YouTube Version.

The 1989 Portuguese Recollections of the Yellow House, original title Recordações da Casa Amarela, was directed and starred by João César Monteiro. It tells the bizarre story of a middle-age pervert living in a boarding house.

Casa Amarela 01

World Cup Historic

Kicking off Group B we have Portugal. FIFA affiliated since 1921 and participant in seven World Cups, including Russia 2018.

Their best run was in their debut when they reached third place in ’66. Only recently Portugal is being a usual participant in the FIFA World Cup, qualifying in every one since 2002, and reaching semi-finals in 2006.

Portugal is the current European champions and has Cristiano Ronaldo as the leader. Ronaldo has 99 goals in 164 games for Portugal, which makes him the player with more caps and the top scorer of the national team’s history.

In their opening match of the 2018 World Cup, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the draw 3-3 against Spain. Later, they were eliminated by Uruguay in the Round of 16.

In Qatar 2022, Ronaldo will be 37, most likely his last World Cup, but the Portuguese team has many up and coming young talents to carry the torch, and everything to make a great run in the tournament.

Recordações da Casa Amarela

The film follows the daily life of a lodger in a yellow boarding house that gives the movie its name. The writer/director João César Monteiro plays João de Deus, a pervert and a scoundrel, lusting for the young women in the house.

Like Cairo Station, this is another movie with a crazy man obsessed with a young woman. In Recollections of the Yellow House, João de Deus is obsessed with Julieta, daughter of Ms. Violeta (Manuela de Freitas), his landlord.

The girl Julieta (played by Teresa Calado) is the main focus of the old man, but not the only one. Another girl in the center of the story is Mimi, played by the Italian journalist Sabina Sacchi.

João de Deus (standing) and the other lodgers
João de Deus (standing) and the other lodgers.

Beginning with the characters, despite clearly being a crook, João de Deus is somewhat of a charming figure, “very British” in his own words. This particular characteristic reflects the atmosphere of the movie, with something very poetic.

João César Monteiro does a great João de Deus, even his appearance. In the beginning, he seems like any middle-aged man, he could be my father if I knew how my father looks like.

In other moments, he seems like a completely different character, so his normal beginning contrast amazingly. To give an example, near the end, João de Deus even looks like Nosferatu.

Besides João de Deus, the other character I liked the most was Mimi. She is an interesting character, and her interactions with João de Deus are a highlight throughout the film.

As I already mentioned, Sabina Sacchi is Italian, and the movie is in Portuguese, so she was dubbed over by Inês de Medeiros. It’s noticeable that she is speaking Portuguese, but her mouth and her words are not matching 100%.

I believe she was not fluent in Portuguese, so they dubbed her to make her dialogue completely understandable. Whatever it’s the case, it didn’t bother me at all.

Mimi was the thing I liked the most in the movie. She is a young woman from a village trying to make a living in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and largest city while maintaining a little of her ingenuity in contrast with her city life as a prostitute.

Mimi and João de Deus yellow house casa amarela
Mimi and João de Deus

Talking about Lisbon, where the movie is set. Inside of the boarding house is nothing special, but the commercial buildings and especially the streets are all so beautiful and poetic.

By coincidence, I quite recently watched the new Joker, directed by Todd Phillips and starred by Joaquin Phoenix. Both Joker as Recollections of the Yellow House are about insanity, you are NOT supposed to treat the protagonist as a hero or role model.

A teacher I had in college told us about a visit she made to a psychiatric hospital with a class of students. There, she found a former student as a patient, at that moment, she realized how thin is the line between normality and insanity.

What I mean with this little anecdote is that every insane person is a human being and that we might be closer to absolute insanity than we think. We all have a little João de Deus inside of us.

When the insanity in the movie is unleashed for good, everything gets a little chaotic, and the narrative is not so clear and traditional as the phase before. From that moment on, the movie becomes even more symbolic than before.

Did I already mentioned that this is one of the funniest movies I have ever reviewed and probably one of the funniest I have ever watched?! My sense of humor can be sick sometimes, so I know it won’t please everyone.

More Mimi and João de Deus dinning
More Mimi and João de Deus

I watched Recollections of the Yellow House more than a year ago, at first I liked, but felt a little confused and lost. I didn’t rewatch now, I just revisited a little bit and already could activate my memory to understand everything better.

I hope I can find some time to watch it again from beginning to end, writing my little notes like I got used to in 2019. For now, I’m upgrading my initial rating from 8 Moons to a brand new 10 Moons.

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