Nearly three years ago, I was offered the opportunity to interview Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes about his new film, Tabu. As a Portuguese film buff and sometimes filmmaker, myself, I leaped at the chance. Now, Gomes has been making waves with his new three-part film, Arabian Nights, ever since its world premiere this past May at the Cannes Film Festival. The 381-minute epic will bow to US audiences beginning September 30 at the New York Film Festival. But before that happens, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on my interview with him from December 2012.
(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)
I recently sat down with Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes in Manhattan’s Film Forum, where his new feature Tabu will be screening as of December 26th. The film’s story begins in Lisbon where we meet Aurora, an elderly woman with a seemingly uninteresting life. Following her death, Aurora’s neighbor and maid join to find an old man with a connection to Aurora’s past. As the man begins to tell his and Aurora’s story, we are transported to a former Portuguese colony in Africa, where we witness their youthful, eccentric lives play out.
Tabu is told in two distinct parts: the first half set in Lisbon in the present day and the second set in Africa decades earlier. Both benefit from the classic mode of filmmaking that Gomes employed. His use of black-and-white imagery and a 4:3 aspect ratio hearken back to a cinema of old, honoring a long-forgotten art while emphasizing the film’s theme of lost youth.
This year, the film has screened at the New York Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Las Palmas Film Festival (Spain), and won two awards at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival.