|Tabu is beautiful, but kind of disappointing.|
Directed by Miguel Gomes
Produced by Sandro Aguilar and Luis Urbano
Written by Miguel Gomes and Mariana Ricardo
Starring Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira, Carloto Cotta, Isabel Cardoso, Henrique Espirito Santo, Ivo Müller and Manuel Mesquita
Plot Summary: A deceased woman's neighbor and maid look for a man who can reveal her mysterious African past.
Significance: As one of the most celebrated international films of 2012, it received a lot of awards attention, which included the FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival and 6 nominations (and a screenplay win) at the International Cinephile Society Awards. Sight & Sound Magazine even listed it as the #2 film of 2012. Also, the title references the brilliant 1931 film of the same name directed by F.W. Murnau.
Thoughts: This has been on my watchlist for a couple of years, so I went into it expecting something great, especially since Guy Lodge - one of my favorite critics, no less - listed it as his top film of 2012. Overall, the film is somewhat disappointing, but still an interesting viewing experience. Visually the film is first-rate, and Gomes does have wonderful creative strokes in his style and screenplay. Though, the film is more a diamond in the rough than a cinematic triumph. Despite the uniformly exquisite black and white cinematography, which adds a nostalgic luster to the rugged landscapes and dark interiors, the film feels too clunky on the whole. It's disjointed, and the various sequences don't mesh as well as they could. Though, I fully intend to revisit the film in the future. It's odd, charming, and beautiful to look at; I just wish I loved it.