28 December 2012 8:11 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Like a lot of late (oft-fetish) objects of cinephilia (cf. Django Unchained, Holy Motors, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, the films of Gabriel Abrantes, even, or perhaps most of all, This Is Not a Film), Miguel Gomes' Tabu is a sutured fantasy, that is, with the seams showing: all calculating formal frameworks for cute fantasy only end up referring back to their production history (as documentary), as well as the same national history the self-contained storyline was supposed to shield against. Of course the point is simple: stories are cultural products, and as in the African documentaries of Salzar's chief propagandist, António Lopes Ribeiro, Gomes' stories end up revealing everything they're designed to evade. Until its late swerve into unremitting pastiche, the point when cultural history collapses into a Forrest Gump crime scene, Tabu, like so many Portuguese films with their cheap resources and love letter narrators, straddles the »

- David Phelps

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