Director: Miguel Gomes
Cast: Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira, Henrique Espírito Santo, Carloto Cotta, Isabel Cardoso, Ivo Müller, Manuel Mesquita
Duration: 118 mins
Country of Origin: Portugal
Strong sex scene and nudity
“The film of the year. An enigmatic fusion of contemporary absurdist comedy and luscious period romance. The most romantic thing I’ve seen in forever.”
Guy Lodge, VARIETY
“Prepare yourselves for a unique cinema experience: a tour de force of great beauty, whimsy and emotion. It’s really, really something special. It’s sublime.”
Margaret Pomeranz, ABC AT THE MOVIES
“I fell in love with it. I just fell under the spell. It is so rewarding.”
David Stratton, ABC AT THE MOVIES
“The most enjoyable and creatively ambitious film I’ve seen this year…Swooningly romantic. Simply glorious.”
Tim Robey, THE TELEGRAPH UK
“A rare pleasure… A delirious celebration of cinematic imagination. The most joyous film of the year.”
Jonathan Romney, THE INDEPENDENT
“A gem. A film of such artistry & daring that you’ll be left dazzled by the possibilities of the medium… A film that recharges your love of cinema.”
Alice Tynan, ABC LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE
A love story told in two unique parts, TABU is, quite simply, a film unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Deftly moving between contemporary Portugal, colonial Africa and the landscape of dreams, director Miguel Gomes conjures an enthralling story of obsession, memory and dangerous forbidden romance.
In part one, ‘Paradise Lost’, we follow the seemingly ordinary daily life of a devout Lisbon woman, Pilar (Teresa Madruga) and her attempts to support and console her extravagant and bitter neighbour Aurora (Laura Soveral), who spends her day gambling at the local casino and whose grip on reality is clearly becoming tenuous; she’s convinced her stoic maid Santa is secretly practicing voodoo spells against her.
When Aurora’s health takes a turn, a stranger is summoned to her deathbed and it gradually transpires this man is Gian Luca, the love of her life from the distant past. His confession to Pilar of their doomed youthful affair forms the basis of the film’s second extraordinary chapter, ‘Paradise’, set 50 years prior at an African farm in the foothills of Mount Tabu…
Playfully interpreting and rearranging history, Gomes’ film is somehow both technically and narratively subversive and yet inescapably romantic, in no small way thanks to the sensuous black and white cinematography and incredible score and sound design. Where part one portrays a society wallowing in nostalgia, the second propels a dramatic shift in tone and emotional power, delivering everything the characters – and we – may dream of, and live for.