Tabu
Portugal, 2012, 110 minutes, SD
Tabu Synopsis

After Our Beloved Month of August, Miguel Gomes returns with Tabu, an engaging, provocative and poetic film set both in Portugal and in an un-named African location.


Bearing the same title as F. W. Murnau’s classic Tabu (1931), shot in black and white and taking place at least partly in a distant land, Gomes’ third feature film is divided in two distinctive yet complementary storylines. Whilst the first part, shot in 35mm and in the present time, portrays a society wallowing in nostalgia, the second part, shot in 16mm, goes back in time and plays with history, sound, the concept of linear narration, as well as the ideas of melodrama, slapstick, passion and tragedy. Both parts feature Aurora at two different stages of her life: an older Aurora regrets a past long gone while a younger Aurora dreams of a more passionate life. A virtuoso film, Tabu also offers a reflection on Europe’s colonial past.

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Reviewed by jambo
This is a stunning film. It creates a palpable sense of romance and nostalgia while giving an idiosyncratic account of the effects of white colonialism. While the location of ‘Mount... more
This is a stunning film. It creates a palpable sense of romance and nostalgia while giving an idiosyncratic account of the effects of white colonialism. While the location of ‘Mount Tabu’ is never specified, it seems to be inspired by the Portuguese’s colonialisation of Mozambique in Southern Africa. The lush black and white cinematography is matched by the sensual soundtrack. The film really casts a cinematic spell.
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