At the request of the film’s UK distributors I’m holding back our complete review of Miguel Gomes’ majestic Tabu until nearer the time of the films theatrical release, but rather than let my first viewing of the film slip by completely I thought it might be fun to put up on the site the notes produced during that initial screening. As per the nature of notes the below are rather vague, so feel safe to tread without succumbing to too much information. The film really captured my imagination, and is an early contender for best of 2012.

Notes On Tabu

Beautiful prologue. Melancholy beast. Wit. Magical. Silent piano score.


Being watched in a cinema by the protagonist of Part One: Lost Paradise. Film within a film. Spends a lot of time in cinemas. The films most remarkable scene takes place in one later in the film. Uses the cinema as memories and to tell a tale. On several levels.

Three days after Christmas.

Moving backgrounds. Casino rotating.

Robinson Crusoe. Catholicism. Colonial revolt.

Beautiful. Aforementioned casino shot. Torch lit cavern. Long takes. Bus ride. Rain and lightening.

Bizarre protest against the UN. Silence, prayer.

Her interactions with the dogs (dobermans).

Mr. Ventura and the mystery he brings with.

Post-funeral coffee in safari themed mall.

Portuguese version of Be My Baby. Best pop scene in a film since Nightshift?

Paradise: Reverses the timeline to engineer a happy ending for a tragic figure. Silent. Narrated by Ventura. Rejection of Modern tech. Elaborately staged and constructed – wholly cinematic. Much of Paradise is told sans diegetic sound (dialogue, score or narration) although sound does appear on occasion. Narrated by Ventura for most til Aurora joins in as the pair pass letters back and forth. Only diegetic dialogue is of him recording the version of Be My Baby heard elsewhere in the film. Select sound fx remain, but dialogue is removed.

Offbeat. Mario’s Record. Animals in clouds. RAMONES?! 1980 – Time.

Beautiful powerful portrayal of love. Scene of the pair walking arm in arm post-sex. The realisation on their faces when they reach the end of their trek. Love is referred to as an adventure.

POV of the dead man.

Tabu ties. Love on the run. Shared Title of sections.

Epiphany: fireworks, prayers and a late night convalescence visit.

RKO. “Cinema bored her to death”. It will never snow again over Kilimanjaro.

“Being imprisoned for the rest of my life or ripped by the deceived husband’s bullet were cheery perspectives compared to the despairing impasse of my situation”.

TABU is released on September 5th, and will be reviewed in full nearer then. In the meantime Rob Girvan’s review of the film from this years Edinburgh International Film Festival can be found HERE.