Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Playful Elegy

Tabu (2012) - Gomes
Playful in its formality, Miguel Gomes's Tabu is a thing of a wonder and best kind of ode to cinema. Shot on full frame B&W, Tabu jumps from colonial past to modern day Lisbon and jumps back to a mystical setting in a sleepy colonial town at the foot of Tabu mountain. At once gentle and dreamlike,Tabu concerns Pilar, a good natured middle aged lady, her senile neighbor Aurora and her African maid Santa in modern day Lisbon.

At her deathbed, Aurora calls for her long lost love Ventura and Pilar is on the mission to find him. This sets up the sprawling romance back in colonial Africa where story of young Aurora and Ventura's illicit love affair takes place. The old Ventura narrates the whole affair and the whole thing is without dialog. Gomes's playing on colonialist past and its taboo (talking about it) contrasting with the make-believe nature of the African part of the film is just brilliant. Tragic yet uplifting, daring in it's minimal aesthetics, Tabu isn't anything like I've seen out there. Loved it.

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