Friday, 23 October 2015

I've Just Seen: Tabu (2012)

Tabu (2012)

Director: Miguel Gomes

I generally enjoy films that break with film conventions. Gomes' Tabu does this primarily through sound, and also plays with structure. The film has three parts: a prologue, Part One titled 'Paradise Lost,' and Part Two: 'Paradise.' The prologue is a slightly mythic story of lost love, giving us a thematic setting for the rest of the film. The voice-over narration is also introduced here.

The film is non-linear, as 'Paradise Lost' introduces older characters whose histories are revealed in 'Paradise.' 'Paradise' is recounted as a story, almost entirely narrated; the only change is the letters that the lovers send to each other. The whole film is in B&W, which along with the lack of dialogue recalls films from the silent era. The film, particularly 'Paradise,' set in Africa, feels like one is looking at a collection of someone's old photographs, or home movies. There are some interesting images, especially those involving a crocodile.

I don't know exactly how I feel about this. I got rave reviews by several critics, including Australia's own Margaret and David, which is why I watched it. I feel as though I missed something. All the elements didn't quite work together; the lack of closure for the plot involving Pilar (raised in 'Paradise Lost,' then never returned to again) left me confused. The fate of the lovers didn't grab me as strongly as it should have, which meant I wasn't as struck by the tragedy of it all. Tabu is a film I will probably re-watch at some point, in order to clarify what I think of it.

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