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Tabu (I) (2012)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,846 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 21 user | 129 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

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.

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Title: Tabu (2012)

Tabu (2012) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Telmo Churro ...
Intrepid explorer
Miguel Gomes ...
Narrator (voice)
Hortêncílio Aquina ...
Porter (as Hortencílio Aquina)
Américo Mota ...
Porter
Valentim Hortêncílio ...
Porter (as Valentim Hortencílio)
Artur Januário ...
Porter
Mariana Ricardo ...
Explorer's wife / Aurora's friend
Teresa Madruga ...
Pilar
Maya Kosa ...
Polish woman
...
Santa (as Isabel Cardoso)
Laura Soveral ...
Aurora
Vítor Manuel ...
Guide
Cândido Ferreira ...
Painter
Maria José Ricardo ...
Literacy teacher
Joana Cunha Ferreira ...
Pilar's friend
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

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Release Date:

5 April 2012 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Tabou  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

At 1:20:48 a women appears to be using a cell phone or a mobile phone (the film is based on the sixties). See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Baby I Love You
by The Ramones
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User Reviews

 
A gem of a film not just about love, but love of cinema
30 March 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I watched Tabu knowing very little about it and found the film a real treat to watch, but however I will try to avoid giving too much away as this is one of those films that are best to watch not knowing too much. The whole viewing experience is very rewarding, not just emotionally, but also in that your required patience is amply rewarded. Though the entire film is shot in black and white, the two different stories are told in differing stylistic ways, making Tabu a very fitting tribute to cinema itself.

The first half, firstly being set in the present day, has almost a surrealist feel to it, with some apparently random moments and new characters being introduced suddenly. This does require your attention and anyone could be forgiven for wondering where the hell the film is going. However, as the first half reaches its inevitable conclusion and we enter the second half, this is where Tabu becomes an engaging and emotionally rewarding film. Many of the supposedly random moments of the first half now fit in perfectly as we are revealed what happened when Aurora was a young woman living in Africa.

The second half is a rather simple story of an illicit love affair that could never be but is told in an emotionally powerful way, enhanced by the framed narrative structure and deeply mournful narration of who we discover to be the man she loved. The power of the voice over is enhanced by the completely different stylistic approach of the second half, the only dialogue throughout is the voice over of Aurora's lover and the whole second half is shot in 16mm. The poignant reflections of the narrator can easily be interpreted as also being the director's and perhaps us the viewer's feelings towards silent era cinema of a bygone age. This stylistic approach is very much purposeful, all other diagetic sounds can be heard, and the characters are physically talking to each other. The emotional power is only enhanced by the fact all we can hear is the non-diagetic narration and having to otherwise rely on expressions and body language of the characters. Part two feels like a two sided approach to love of the past; a past loved one and a love of cinema of the past.

Despite the main subject of the story at hand, Tabu is not a completely bleak film, the playful use of different cinematic techniques and music are a joy to watch and the catharsis of the ending leaves a feeling of poignancy but not abject misery. There are however elements to Tabu that may frustrate. It feels that the protagonist of part one is Pilar, Aurora's neighbour and her story does feel frustratingly unfinished as we see elements of her daily life that make us truly care about her as these moments have literally nothing to do with Aurora. However, this is the story of Aurora through the eyes of those around her and in that case the stylistic approach of part one in retrospect fits with that of part two. The surrealist and playful approach to narrative structure in part one may seem pretentious and potentially alienating to some, but after watching the entire film I could only look back at it with positive feelings.

Original and unique, Tabu is a thoroughly engrossing and emotionally rewarding story that serves not only as a tribute to human love, but also love of the history of cinema. The first thirty minutes or so may feel hard work at first, but what the remainder of the film has to offer more than amply rewards the viewer's patience.


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