Archive of films God´s Comedy / A Comédia de Deus

1995, 160 min

Section: Horizons - Awarded Films
Year: 2002

An unusual story of holy sinner, eccentric collector and admirer of women, music and hygiene, Joao de Deus, and his ice-cream paradise. The film was awarded the Special Jury Grand Prix at Venice in 1995 – it is a masterful work of modern Portuguese film.


Joao de Deus is manager of the Paradise Ice-Cream Parlour. With the passion of an expert he devotes his time to inventing new house specialities, offering his beautiful young staff cultural and spiritual instruction and ensuring the application of strict hygiene regulations. With equal passion this eccentric loner also cultivates his unusual hobby collecting female pubic hairs in a treasured album which he calls his “Book of Thoughts”. The actual owner of the enterprise, the resolute Judite, dreams of a merger with a French company and entrusts Joao with the task of negotiating with its director Antoine Doinel. Joao starts off on the wrong foot and his position in the “Paradise Parlour” is in serious jeopardy. The jury at the Venice IFF awarded this highly original work of modern Portuguese film with the Special Jury Grand Prix in 1995.

About the director

Joao César Monteiro (b. 1939), a renowned name in Portuguese cinema, he acquired his film education during his stay in Paris (1960), at screenings in the Cinematéque francaise, and later studied at the London School of Film Technology. After returning to Portugal he worked first as a film critic and, from 1968 onwards, he directed Surrealism-inspired films which earned him a reputation as the “enfant terrible” of Portuguese film. Feature-length films: The Holy Family (also Film Fragments for a Pittance, 1972, Fragmentos de un filme esmola), What Will I Do with This Sword? (1975, Que farei eu com esta espada?), Trails (1977, Veredas), Silvestre (1981), Flower of the Sea (1986, A flor do mar), Recollections of the Yellow House (1989, Recordacoes da casa Amarela – Silver Lion at the Venice IFF), The Last Dive (1992, O último merguilho), God’s Comedy (1995, A comédia de Deus), The Hips of J. W. (1996, Le bassin de J. W.), God’s Wedding (1998, As Bodas de Deus), Snow White (2000, Branca de Neve).

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Horizons - Awarded Films
Director: Joao César Monteiro
Screenplay: Joao César Monteiro
Dir. of Photography: Mário Barroso
Music: Claudio Monteverdi, Joseph Haydn, Richard Wagner, Johann Strauss
Editor: Carla Bogalheiro
Producer: Joaquim Pinto
Production: Ger-Grupo de estudos e realizacoes,Lda.
Cast: Joao César Monteiro, Manuela de Freitas, Jean Douchet, Fabienne Babe, André Marcon, Cláudia Teixeira, Raquel Ascensao, Yves Afonso

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