Tabu tells the story of Aurora in two parts. First we meet Aurora as an elderly woman, berating her nurse with racist comments and gambling her meager pension while whining to her neighbour and only friend. When Aurora becomes gravely ill, she asks her friend to find a man and tell him of her condition. This man, Ventura, turns out to be Aurora’s long lost lover who tells the story of her younger years when she was rich, spoiled, pregnant and very much in love.
While director Miguel Gomes is certainly using his medium to tell a pointed story, one of classism, ageism and racism (light subjects none), the film itself feels as though he is having a wonderful time doing so. While the subject matter is dramatic, the film conveys a playful dreamlike quality, as though the viewer is walking through a dream with him.
With Tabu, Gomes brings a new level to storytelling in film. As the back half of the film is “told” to the viewer, the film plays as though one is reading a book and the on-screen images accompanying the narration are only happening inside the viewer’s mind. It creates a simultaneous personal and collective cinema experience that is certainly unique. Mix this unique experience with the nods to both the origin of storytelling and the origin of cinema and Tabu is a film to be remembered.
Is Tabu Essential TIFF Viewing?
While Tabu will be opening at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 21, the experience of Tabu will only be heightened by the festival environment. Yes, this is definitely essential TIFF viewing.
Tabu’s Screening Times
- Thursday, September 6 at 6:15 pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, and
- Saturday, September 8 at 1:00 pm at Jackman Hall (AGO)
More About This Film
Tabu Production Gallery