Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth Jason Reitman Calls ‘Labor Day’ "A Misguided Effort" Jason Reitman Calls ‘Labor Day’ "A Misguided Effort" David Fincher & James Ellroy Plotting 1950s Crime Noir Series For HBO David Fincher & James Ellroy Plotting 1950s Crime Noir Series For HBO Chris Evans On His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go,’ Filming In New York, & ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Chris Evans On His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go,’ Filming In New York, & ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ TIFF Review: Liv Ullmann’s ‘Miss Julie’ Starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell & Samantha Morton TIFF Review: Liv Ullmann’s ‘Miss Julie’ Starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell & Samantha Morton Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” Box-Office: ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Leads Slowest Weekend Of The Year & Surpasses ‘Iron Man’ & ‘Man Of Steel’ Box-Office: ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Leads Slowest Weekend Of The Year & Surpasses ‘Iron Man’ & ‘Man Of Steel’ TIFF Review: Tom McCarthy's 'The Cobbler' Starring Adam Sandler TIFF Review: Tom McCarthy's 'The Cobbler' Starring Adam Sandler TIFF Review: Kevin Smith's Horror Story 'Tusk,' Starring Justin Long, Michael Parks & Johnny Depp TIFF Review: Kevin Smith's Horror Story 'Tusk,' Starring Justin Long, Michael Parks & Johnny Depp TIFF Review: Noah Baumbach's 'While We're Young' Starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver & Amanda Seyfried TIFF Review: Noah Baumbach's 'While We're Young' Starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver & Amanda Seyfried TIFF Review: Dan Gilroy’s ‘Nightcrawler’ Starring Jake Gyllenhaal & Rene Russo TIFF Review: Dan Gilroy’s ‘Nightcrawler’ Starring Jake Gyllenhaal & Rene Russo TIFF Review: ‘The Drop’ Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace & James Gandolfini TIFF Review: ‘The Drop’ Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace & James Gandolfini 'Wolf Of Wall Street' Star Margot Robbie Circling Live-Action 'Ghost In The Shell' Remake 'Wolf Of Wall Street' Star Margot Robbie Circling Live-Action 'Ghost In The Shell' Remake The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

Miguel Gomes Discusses The Mystical Poetry Of 'Tabu' And The Pleasures And Phantoms Of Cinema

Indiewire By Christopher Bell | Indiewire December 26, 2012 at 1:15PM

Behold the courage of Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes: hoping to do a film in the vein of “Meet Me In St. Louis,” he and a crew traveled to the small Arganil Municipality in the country to begin work on a movie featuring a small family band -- that is until the movie’s investor died before signing on the dotted line. Instead of calling it a day, Gomes pressed on and made “Our Beloved Month of August,” a doc/fiction hybrid that captured the essence of the lively environment while commenting on the fragility and banality of a film production. It’s a special, beautiful beast of a movie that unfortunately didn’t see much of a release. Luckily, Gomes has quickly followed up with the brilliant “Tabu” (which we gave an A-grade review to out of TIFF).
1
Miguel Gomes

Behold the courage of Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes: hoping to do a film in the vein of “Meet Me In St. Louis,” he and a crew traveled to the small Arganil Municipality in the country to begin work on a movie featuring a small family band -- that is until the movie’s investor died before signing on the dotted line. Instead of calling it a day, Gomes pressed on and made “Our Beloved Month of August,” a doc/fiction hybrid that captured the essence of the lively environment while commenting on the fragility and banality of a film production. It’s a special, beautiful beast of a movie that unfortunately didn’t see much of a release. Luckily, Gomes has quickly followed up with the brilliant “Tabu” (which we gave an A-grade review to out of TIFF).

Beginning with a rather conventional opening chapter titled 'Lost Paradise,' the filmmaker tells the tale of middle-aged activist Pilar and her starlet neighbor Aurora, the latter who believes her African maid is practicing witchcraft on her. Set in a chilly, modern-day Lisbon, the droll days pass and Aurora suddenly becomes gravely ill, confiding in Pilar about a man she had an affair with -- a man who the dedicated friend seeks out, urging him to relay his story. The second he opens his mouth, Gomes begins a new journey, abandoning Pilar for 'Paradise,' a nostalgic romance in a freewheelin’, colonialist 1960s Mozambique. 'Paradise' is a strange segment, one completely coated in melodrama yet told in a rather distant, unaffecting way (for instance, there is no dialogue -- all of 'Paradise' is told via voice-over). Both segments transform the the other in mysterious ways, commenting on the way time and memory can distort reality.

All in all it’s another distinctive effort from Gomes, one you can catch in New York on December 26th. The director spoke to us during the New York Film Festival about the inspiration for the story, his distaste for the conventional three-act structure of screenplays, and his longing for silent cinema.

Starting With The Hangover
While the inspiration for the first chapter of “Tabu” is a bit ordinary (Gomes explained that the characters and situations were relayed to him from a relative), the following branch, 'Paradise,' has a much more colorful backstory. "When I was doing 'Our Beloved Month Of August,' I discovered that a song in the film was originally done by a Portuguese band in Mozambique in the 60s, so I met them. They talked to me about the old times in Africa, about the songs they played (whatever were the hits at the time), how they picked up girls, etc," explained the filmmaker, noting their nostalgia for a terrible colonialist regime. "They were attached to the regime and missing it, which is not my case, but what I think they were missing the most was their youth, and that intrigued me very much." As for how the divergent stories were eventually structured as one, the director described the idea in terms of binge drinking. "If the second part is the drinking, we start with the hangover. When you get to the section of partying, you continue to have the sensation of this hangover, so when you see the love affair, she’s already gone, she died in the first part. The guy that is going to tell the story, he’s an old man, and you can feel the weight of time contaminating this story, and all the fatigue that is in the first portion charges the second."

Grandpa Cinema
It's not part of the inflated "cinema is dead" declarations that have been going on as of late, but Gomes does have a unique perspective on the current state of movies. "Just as the guys playing in this band were missing their youth, cinema too is missing its youth. Now it is more than 100 years old, and during the process of aging a person becomes more aware and loses their innocence. You cannot believe in the same things you believed in as a child," the director said. "I tried to regain a little bit of this innocence that cinema lost (or we as viewers lost) with my film." Is it too nostalgic? Gomes fills the memories contained in 'Paradise' with artificial constructs such as a copious amount of voiceover to distance the audience, making it so that cinema-goers will have to actively believe in the fiction he is weaving. "The beauty of cinema is that it allows us to go back in time, to our childhood maybe, and believe in unbelievable things. All of this is a construction so it’s artificial, it’s not reality, it’s not the same world we are living in, it is cinema. But I guess that cinema can generate an inner truth, and there is a truth that exists in artificial structures that you can relate and react to in an emotional way," he resolved.

This article is related to: Tabu, Miguel Gomes, Interviews, Features

E-Mail Updates


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.