One of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, 'Tabu' is a diptych starting off in present day Lisbon where Teresa Madruga gives a luminous performance as Pilar, a woman concerned about her neighbour Aurora's eccentricities. Finally Pilar meets Gian Luca, a figure from Aurora's past. He starts his story and the film jumps back in time to colonial Africa, where he and Aurora had a passionate love-affair. This second part is made as a quasi-silent film, with no dialogue, just music and voice-over. Former film critic Miguel Gomes both uses and slyly comments on all the techniques of cinema to make a truly virtuoso film. With a soundtrack that ranges from Lisztian piano music to cover versions of Phil Spector. 'Tabu' is just a delight. Not to mention the sad and melancholy crocodile...
Telmo Churro, Hortêncílio Aquina, Américo Mota, Valentim Hortêncílio, Artur Januário, Mariana Ricardo, Teresa Madruga, Maya Kosa, Isabel Muñoz Cardoso, Laura Soveral, Vítor Manuel, Cândido Ferreira, Maria José Ricardo, Joana Cunha Ferreira, Araceli Fuente Basconcillos, Vasco Pimentel, Paulo Amorim, Luis Gaspar, Henrique Espírito Santo, Paulo Seabra
A black and white film although this works in the way of atmospherics I found it quite boring to watch in the original right up of this move it described the Croc as being melancholy I think why the Croc looked so melancholy was that he also had got bored with the whole idea also lost the will to live
Tabu by the way is a mountain in Africa where some of the story is set.This a black and white film which has a very amateur feel to it. Like watching a home movie. This may be the desired effect but it feels naff. I feel particularly irritated when such a mediocre film is described as one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. It is an Emperor's clothes sort of statement. If you don't enjoy this you're a philistine. Well I didn't it's silly, sad and feeble.
Dreadful, pretentious Portuguese mess of a movie
- Tabu review by PV
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You rated this film: 1
As others have stated, this is a very boring and amateurish movie - so amazed it's been so highly praised and nominated for awards (I suspect this is because of its portrayal of Africa).
The first lesson of writing fiction and screenplays is SHOW, DON'T TELL. Well, whatever over-rated art-house Portuguese pixie made this mess of a movie obviously hasn't got a very good grasp of that truism, because this film TELLS you again and again.
Most of it is narration with actors acting out scenes like puppets. In drama, the characters are the ones who are supposed to express views and tell the story through their deeds. That is what grips an audience. I cannot see how anyone can be gripped by this dire film.
A crocodile appears throughout BUT this is never explained. Probably a symbol of something - maybe the CRUSHING bore that this film is? If I had to watch this on a loop I, too, would throw myself to the crocodiles!
How to describe it? Mediocre + feeble. Dull + pointless. It obviously thinks it's clever and intellectual. It's not. It's just monotonous and meaningless.
It's basically just a love triangle set in Portugal and Africa, with some confusing flashbacks (esp at the start).
I tried hard to give this 2 stars for something - but just couldn't face it. 1 star.
A movie that begins in the shimmering heat of the African plains, as a hunter prowls amongst the undergrowth stalking prey in the dangerous territory of lazing lions and the gleaming scales and teeth of basking crocodiles Tabu is essentially a story of two halves; one that tells the story of young love and the aftermath of a romance blighted by prejudices and miscommunication.
The first half of the film centres on Pilar, a middle aged Portuguese woman who becomes concerned about the welfare of her elderly neighbour, Aurora, whose gambling habit and general lust for life has left her penniless and alone save for her dutiful maid. Whilst the second half of the movie flashes back to the 1970’s as a camera technician filming on location in the shadow of Mount Tabu in Portuguese Mozambique, finds herself facing prejudices and unrequited love.
Without giving too much of the story away – as despite all it’s other layers the narrative is the most important aspect of this multifaceted movie – the link between the past and present is both a plot and emotionally driven one, allowing director Miguel Gomes (recipient of various awards for his 2008 feature film debut This Dear Month of August) to use a few innovative cinematic techniques to explore the passing of time in this rather beautiful movie.
A strangely silent movie, filmed entirely in black and white with the past depicted in a grainer and less steady style than the crisp, mirror like reflections of the present, Tabu is what many would call a cinephile’s movie; with various nods to a movie of the same name made in 1931, as well as another famous Hollywood-goes-to-Africa movie. The artistry of Gomes’ work perfectly compliments the inherent messages of the film; those of memory, time, prejudice and acceptance (of oneself, others and extenuating circumstances), culminating in a genuinely enjoyable (although very speech heavy) drama.