The Language and Sacrificial Rites in the Cinema of João César MonTeiro



communication, Georges Bataille, João César Monteiro, language, sacred, transgression


João César Monteiro shares with George Bataille many ideas, perhaps one could even say that they share a certain worldview where violence has not abandoned us, but remains a part of our DNA. We are fierce beings, wounded beings in search of a lost continuity. For both authors, only through violence can we communicate with that which is outside of the immediate, the useful, outside the sphere of knowledge.

In this article we will be exploring the tensions between the profane and the sacred, a central dichotomy in Bataille’s thinking, something that instigates the movement in which the violence of the sacrifice of blood is transferred in all its intensity to the field of language and words are shown capable of opening wounds in reality. Shepherded by Christianity, this is symptomatic of the plastic impulse of sacrificial rites and of the performative power of words and art. In the particular case of the work of Monteiro, we will analyse how his films can serve the experience of continuity, putting us in communication with the sacred.

The experiences of laughter, eroticism, or poetry, also known as sovereign experiences (i.e., independent of the rational and instrumental logic of language that governs our daily lives), are presented as the last bastions of the sacred in modern societies. These are the manifestations César Monteiro explores in his work as discourses of not-knowing, which as experiences of continuity can only be known through our participation in the excess that characterizes his cinema.



How to Cite

Maia, C. (2013). The Language and Sacrificial Rites in the Cinema of João César MonTeiro. Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, (4), 97–115. Retrieved from