DVD | Portuguese
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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.
Copyright Date: ©2013
Branch Call Number: FIC Tabu
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (118 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in
video file,DVD video,region 1,rda
Audience: Ontario Film Review Board rating - 18A


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Dec 31, 2014

Miguel Gomes’ frightfully avant-garde B&W melodrama begins, appropriately enough, at the end as an elderly Aurora, perpetually penniless and full of despair, nears the end of her life. Despite the stoic ministrations of her African maid and reclusive neighbour, Aurora seems to be in a constant state of mourning...until a cryptic deathbed wish leads to a series of revelations. Cut to the past where we see a young and vibrant Aurora leading a privileged life on her father’s estate in Africa where she eventually marries a decent upper class gentleman. But her idyllic life is turned upside down with the arrival of Ventura, a dashing rogue who captures her heart and fires her passions. Even though she is expecting her first child, Aurora and Ventura break every commandment they can think of until the weight of all that cumulative guilt finally catches up to them. With its gorgeous cinematography, rich voiceovers, and novel use of sounds and silences (including some nicely lip-synced 60’s pop tunes) Tabu is certainly lovely to look at. Of course there are the usual colonialist allusions and Catholic angst one would expect, and for an interesting twist Eros himself gets a saurian makeover. Unfortunately I found the story itself rather pedestrian and certainly not deserving of all that visual and auditory gimmickry. Very pretty to behold, but dull as bricks to sit through.

Dec 15, 2014

Wish there was a color version for comparison. The first 40 minutes or so was a long introduction of an elderly woman living out her seemingly boring days in Lisbon and the rest described her past adventures and an elicit affair in Africa, Portugal's unconventional answer to Hollywood's "Out of Africa".

May 08, 2014

Black and white films although they connote some dramatic effect could affect the overall experience of viewing. However, the use of BnW in this case is most favorable because of the story specially the 2nd part. It would have been great actually if the first part was i colour since that represents the present whereas the 2nd is the past - makes sense but anyway, I enjoyed the classic mix of romance, contemporary history, sorcery in this Portuguese movie that I think the best so far.


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Dec 15, 2014

Aurora: "Gian Luca, my love. It's urgent that you go now and leave behind this damned land and the memory of the horror you lived here. Nothing else ties you here. The woman you loved lies dead, buried in these dispassionate hills. Like them, you witnessed my demise and will say nothing. Because if the memory of men is limited, the world is eternal and no one can escape. "If we have committed crimes together, your involvement is not comparable to mine. You are unwise and didn't realize you have spent the last months with a poor madwoman who can cherish the moments others will see as terrifying iniquities. I beg you to burn this sad letter, the last I will ever write and to which you will not reply."

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