Tabu

"Essential"

Tabu Review


Anyone tired of seeing the same old movies over and over again should rush to find this remarkable Portuguese film, which defies genres and continually surprises us with its lively style and offbeat storytelling. It was an unexpected hit at this year's Berlin and Edinburgh film festivals, where cinema lovers embraced the offbeat genius of filmmaker Gomes.

Shot in pristine black and white, the film has three distinct chapters, which increase in length and are interwoven by both characters and themes. The first is a film within the film, a historical account of a king so despondent about his wife's death that he treks into deepest Africa to lose himself. Watching this is Pilar (Madrugada), a woman in present-day Lisbon who is entangled in the life of her batty old neighbour Aurora (Soveral), who's sure her black maid (Cardoso) is an evil witch. As Pilar seeks out Aurora's old love GianLuca (Espiritu Santo), she learns Aurora's history, which is shown in an extended flashback that becomes the film's main plotline.

This final half of the movie is simply beautiful, combining storytelling styles to follow the young Aurora (Moreira) as she lives in Africa at the foot of Mt Tabu with her husband (Muller). But his adventurer best friend GianLuca (Cotta) catches her eye, and their torrid affair threatens to undo the delicate balance of their colonial life. Gomes tells this part of the story with a flourish of style that catches our imagination. We hardly notice that there's no actual dialog, as GianLuca recounts the events with such detail that we are emotionally gripped, and the gorgeous sound mix fills in the atmosphere.

There's even a lively 1960s pop music element to the story.

In other words, this is one of those films that entrances the audience with its sheer audacity. Every scene is unexpected and magical. And as it progresses we begin to understand that Gomes is exploring the inner desire we all have to find paradise somewhere in our lives. Using the potent themes of colonialism, racism and romantic infidelity, he triggers our memories with details we might not quite understand. But we feel it in ways that are achingly beautiful.

Rich Cline



Tabu

Facts and Figures

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 5th April 2012

Distributed by: Adopt Films

Production compaines: O Som e a Fúria

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Fresh: 46 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Miguel Gomes

Producer: Sandro Aguilar, Luis Urbano

Starring: Teresa Madruga as Pilar, Laura Soveral as Old Aurora, Henrique Espírito Santo as Old Ventura, Carloto Cotta as Young Ventura, Isabel Muñoz Cardoso as Santa, Ivo Müller as Aurora's Husband, Manuel Mesquita as Mario, Ana Moreira as Young Aurora

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.