Tabu (I) (2012)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,598 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 21 user | 134 critic | 17 from

A restless retired woman teams up with her deceased neighbor's maid to seek out a man who has a secret connection to her past life as a farm owner at the foothill of Mount Tabu in Africa.


Watch Trailer
0Check in
18 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A regular family living in the outskirts of Lisbon sees the serenity of their lives shaken beyond any remedy within a week.

Director: João Canijo
Stars: Rafael Morais, Rita Blanco, Anabela Moreira
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Follows a jealous countess, a wealthy businessman, and a young orphaned boy across Portugal, France, Italy and Brazil where they connect with a variety of mysterious individuals.

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Adriano Luz, Maria João Bastos, Ricardo Pereira
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

On his deathbed, Uncle Boonmee recalls his many past lives.

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Stars: Thanapat Saisaymar, Jenjira Pongpas, Sakda Kaewbuadee
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The lives of the residents of a Brazilian apartment building and the security guards who get the job guarding the surrounding streets.

Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho
Stars: Ana Rita Gurgel, Caio Almeida, Maeve Jinkings
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A rural farmer is forced to confront the mortality of his faithful horse.

Directors: Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky
Stars: János Derzsi, Erika Bók, Mihály Kormos
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

"José and Pilar," a documentary by Miguel Gonçalves Mendes, is a deeply moving story about love, loss and literature. It follows the days of José Saramago, the Nobel-laureate Portuguese ... See full summary »

Director: Miguel Gonçalves Mendes
Stars: Joao Afonso, Àngels Barceló, Pilar del Río
Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In the heart of Portugal, amid the mountains, the month of August is abuzz with people and activity... See full synopsis »

Director: Miguel Gomes
Stars: Sónia Bandeira, Fábio Oliveira, Joaquim Carvalho
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Some of the chapters from Arabian Nights are adapted to a modern Portugal in this epic.

Director: Miguel Gomes
Stars: Miguel Gomes, Carloto Cotta, Adriano Luz
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Director: Miguel Gomes
Stars: Crista Alfaiate, João Pedro Bénard, Margarida Carpinteiro
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Miguel Gomes
Stars: Crista Alfaiate, Bernardo Alves, Chico Chapas
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Francisco, behave! I Know it's your birthday, you are thirty now, it's carnival, you've dressed as a cowboy for the school party and you are surrounded by kids you hate. But that's no ... See full summary »

Director: Miguel Gomes
Stars: José Airosa, Gracinda Nave, Sara Graça
Redemption X (2013)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Miguel Gomes
Stars: Maren Ade, Donatello Brida, Jaime Pereira


Cast overview, first billed only:
Intrepid explorer
Narrator (voice)
Hortêncílio Aquina ...
Porter (as Hortencílio Aquina)
Américo Mota ...
Valentim Hortêncílio ...
Porter (as Valentim Hortencílio)
Artur Januário ...
Mariana Ricardo ...
Explorer's wife / Aurora's friend
Teresa Madruga ...
Maya Kosa ...
Polish woman
Vítor Manuel ...
Cândido Ferreira ...
Maria José Ricardo ...
Literacy teacher
Joana Cunha Ferreira ...
Pilar's friend
Araceli Fuente Basconcillos ...
Pilar's friend


A restless retired woman teams up with her deceased neighbor's maid to seek out a man who has a secret connection to her past life as a farm owner at the foothill of Mount Tabu in Africa.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


See all certifications »


Official Sites:


| | | |


| |

Release Date:

5 April 2012 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Tabou  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A plane with the registration C9-JCG appears. This is the new registration for Mozambique, the old one was CR-A-- See more »


References Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931) See more »


Lonely Wine
by Mickey Gilley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

It succeeds in overcoming its foibles by its sheer eccentricity and stunning cinematography
5 September 2013 | by (Poland) – See all my reviews

A retired, religious woman Pilar (Teresa Madruga) endeavours to assist her sensitive, enigmatic and fidgety neighbour Aurora (Laura Soveral) whose both psychological and physical health is growing gradually worse and worse. Once Aurora dies, Pilar and Aurora's maid set off in search for a certain man named Ventura (Henrique Espírito Santo) who appears to be a bond between the presence and Aurora's shady past…

This unorthodox tribute to silent cinema and F. W. Murnau's Tabu from 1931 is atypical even by art-house standards and despite being relatively flawed, it succeeds in overcoming its foibles by its sheer eccentricity and stunning cinematography. The movie is initiated with an outlandish prologue recounting a separate story about a suicide of an explorer devoid of hope for a better future which is entailed by his wife's demise. This prelude constitutes the introduction to this black-and-white motion picture whose general theme is about incapability of leading life without love. The flick proceeds to the first part called Paradise Lost which is about superstitious Aurora's struggles with her paranoid temperament and loneliness on account of being stranded by her ungrateful daughter. At this point, mise-en-scène by Gomes is invariably baffling. This is the weakest part of the film which is extortionately digressive and, apart from the main subject tackled in the ensemble, inauspiciously attempts to encompass such issues as metaphysic, depression of senile citizens in the modern society, passion for cinema as well as faith. As a consequence, it is not much of anything and by briefly alluding to these matters, the atypical drama leaves us with a sense of insufficiency, superficiality and instead of plunging into the major topic, it virtually mummifies the entire concept. Nevertheless, the scatter-brained aspect does not perplex that much and the instant the plot drags, the auxiliary visuals come in handy and prevent the material from becoming lifeless.

Once Tabu transmutes into a strand of flashbacks derived from Ventura's memory (a part called Paradise), it embarks on being uncannily engrossing and bounteously asserts its aesthetic beauteousness by exposing landscapes of Portugal colonies with its eye-pleasing black-and-white photography. Narrated with an assistance of Ventura's voice-over, the pic acquires an exceptionally poetic and contemplative relish and genuinely resembles a piece of silent cinema. This is likewise the moment in which one might discern the evident sway of aforementioned Murnau's opus and the parallels between both works are decidedly far from coincidental. It is not that Gomes endeavours to counterfeit Murnau's classic, but the afterthought conveyed from the perspective of colonisers and not a native collective is analogous by commenting on the inability to fulfil one's love owing to social convenances. The creation of Gomes reverberates some relations from Portuguese Colonial War, but Gomes seems to be uninterested in delving in this phenomenon and prefers to frame waterfalls and majestically picturesque plantations. Notwithstanding, the glossy, sumptuous appearance does not conceal the fact that Tabu is rather a pure stylistic exercise than a very prosperous psychological or political depiction of occurrences transpiring on the screen and the narrator just roughly indicates a development regarding his relationship with Aurora in his psyche. It is the extravagant stylisation and the offbeat, non-linear composition which renders the décor appealing and the entire movie jolly palatable.

The acting is very dexterous throughout the utter film. Teresa Madruga is plausible as a middle-aged prude who craves to console Aurora who is also well played by Laura Soveral. The remainder of the cast is highly enjoyable as well, but there were instants in which some performers felt slightly stiff and somewhat somnolent. Cinematography by Rui Poças is exceedingly ravishing and its tranquil nature captivates the audience from the onset to the very end and its sweetness and subtle charm works symbiotically with some delicate piano riffs which embellish and endow Tabu with several exultations.

Whilst the flick is acclaimed and highly rated by majority of film critics, I am inclined to believe that this abundant, structurally unusual motion picture serves its purpose and delivers a great deal of fabulous shots, but I am far from stating that it is a flawless, timeless and sublime trove. Indubitably, there are some ingenious aesthetic touches, but what Tabu lacked for me was the textural integrity, insightfulness as well as some concretism.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Soundtrack (Ramones, Joana Sa, Mickey Gilley, etc.) marko-orlic87
The Music jimgoldblum
The Polish student Red-125
50-minute video with director Miguel Gomes pm85
Aurora and Mário zawusel
the last music sara-dantas07
Discuss Tabu (2012) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: