It’s not required viewing, but to make better sense of the aesthetic and thematic approaches to Tabu, you should check out the film of the same name made 80 years ago by F. W. Murnau. It’s an esoteric choice for inspiration, but Portuguese director Miguel Gomes gives it a go and by and large creates an entrancing world split into two halves. The first chapter, called “Paradise Lost,” takes place in the mid-20th century and centers on a middle-aged woman asked by her neighbor to look for someone in her past. Chapter 2 —or “Paradise”—takes the action back another 50 years, and across the ocean to Africa. The man in the distant past turns out to be a lover, of course. We could almost do without “Paradise Lost”; it’s not as active as the chapter it precedes, but Tabu is nevertheless a gorgeous picture to watch throughout.
Director: Miguel Gomes
Producer: Maren Ade, Sandro Aguilar, Caio Gullane, Fabiano Gullane, Janine Jackowski, Luís Urbano, Jonas Dornbach and Thomas Ordonneau
Cast: Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira, Henrique Santo, Carloto Cotta, Isabel Cardoso, Ivo Müller and Manuel Mesquita