14 September - 20 September 2012
Taking its cues liberally from F.W. Murnau’s final film Tabu, Miguel Gomes has created a film beautifully unique and yet absolutely familiar to anyone with a love of cinema. A contemplative tale of nostalgia, memory, love and loss, Gomes’ story moves effortlessly from contemporary Lisbon to colonial Africa.
Divided into two sections ‘Paradise’ and ‘Lost Paradise’, we begin by following the day-to-day activites of a religious woman, Pilar, and her bitter neighbour Aurora. Admitted to hospital, Aurora drifts in and out of reality and summons a strange man to her bedside. In the second half (shot on 16mm) the stranger recalls in poetic detail his love affair with a beautiful young woman in Africa. Here the two stories intertwine and intersect with lush visual detail and a soundtrack peppered only with specific amplified sound effects and the occasional Phil Spector song.
Some might find Gomes’ film references and unconventional narrative structure challenging, but its playfulness and glorious black and white photography will win others over. A hit at this year’s Berlin Film Festival where it walked away with the Alfred Bauer and FIPRESCI prizes, Tabu is definitely worth making an effort for.