The film, which is shot in black-and-white, focuses on two women, Pilar played by Theresa Madruga, a rigid religious women who takes interest in an elderly neighbor, Aurora played by Laura Sorveral.
The second half of the film, which is separated in episodes, takes place in Colonial Africa where Aurora was brought up and lived until an incident that is explained in the film.
The world of Aurora's Africa doesn't exist anymore except in the memories of Aurora and Ventura, a man who tells the story of his youth with Aurora in Africa. The second half of the film is silent accept for the voice of Ventura's narration. Ventura is summoned by Aurora to her death bed and tells the story to Pilar and the domestic Santa, who takes care of Aurora.
The director says the film takes on an extinct society. The viewer is brought into a world made up of individual memories, and each person has their own interpretation of the past.
The film moves slowly and can be confusing, but once you catch on becomes rewarding. The payoff is not immediate and you have to be patient with the film. There were points where I wanted to give up, but was glad that I stayed with it. The film challenges you in an almost interactive way.
Tabu is truly an Art piece because I feel the director never once thought about the audience. Gomez takes on a very individual personal idea and makes a movie that reminds me of the surrealistic and complicated South American novels of the 70s.
I say go see Tabu and be challenged.
TABU will be showing at Film Forum until January 8.