The ghosts of F.W. Murnau, Luis Buñuel, Joseph Cornell and Jack Smith hover above Miguel Gomes’s third feature—an exquisite, absurdist entry in the canon of surrealist cinema. Shot in ephemeral black-and-white celluloid, Tabu is movie-as-dream—an evocation of irrational desires, extravagant coincidences, and cheesy nostalgia that nevertheless is grounded in serious feeling and beliefs, even anti-colonialist politics. There is a story, which is delightful to follow and in which the cart comes before the horse: the first half is set in contemporary Lisbon, the second, involving two of the same characters, in a Portuguese colony in the early 1960s. “Be My Baby” belted in Portuguese, a wandering crocodile, and a passionate, ill-advised coupling seen through gently moving mosquito netting make for addled movie magic. The winner of the Alfred Bauer Prize (for a work of particular innovation) and FIPRESCI (International Film Critics) award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. An Adopt Films release.
Berlin International Film Festival, 2012
Karlovy Vary Film Festival, 2012
New York Film Festival, 2012
“Few films are this smart about subtly couching their allegorical aspirations within more straightforward narratives; fewer still are able to do so with such energetically inventive virtuoso style.” —NPR
“A lyrical Old Hollywood melodrama projected on a bedsheet? A celluloid curio à la Barnum's Fiji mermaid? At such times, it's better to stick with a simple 'wonderful.'” —Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice