Showing posts with label Tabu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tabu. Show all posts

Saturday, 19 January 2013


In part homage to F. W. Murnau’s film of the same name, Portuguese melodrama Tabu is a film split into two halves which revolve around a Portuguese woman who grew up in Africa and grew old in Lisbon. Shot on actual film and in a narrow 1.37:1 aspect the film exudes an air of the silent era which is doubled with a second act which features no spoken dialogue. Instead of traditional dialogue or even old style intertitles the audience is treated to a narration from an older version of one of the central characters. The second act isn’t totally silent though as background noise of the African bush can be heard while the characters are muted. It is a brave film making decision but works to great effect. Tabu takes some time to get into and will be an instant turn off to many (including me) but once I got into it and especially once I reached Part 2, I was hooked by its enduring story, picturesque setting and exquisite style.

The film opens with an enigmatic prologue set in Africa and telling the story of star crossed lovers. This beautiful opening also introduces a crocodile which goes on to have further significance later on. Unlike the two main sections of the film, this opening could be timeless. There are hints of an early colonial setting but the way it is filmed gives it an eternal feel.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Life of Pi

Life of Pi is based on a 2001 novel of the same name, often thought un-filmable. Taiwanese Director Ang Lee has somehow managed to bring to life an incredibly visceral story and create the most beautiful film I’ve seen all year. The astonishing story makes for a wonderful focus which is given a spectacularly beautiful backdrop, filmed in 3D. For only the second time since the 3D ‘revolution’, (see Hugo 2011) the extra dimension adds to rather than detracts from the story and helps to create a sumptuous world full of incredible sights, great laughs and awful sadness.   

A middle aged Indian man now living in Canada is recounting a fantastical story to a Canadian man who is trying to write a book. The Indian, Pi, tells the writer about his childhood in French India where his father owned a zoo. Pi speaks of his deep and profound religious beliefs and discloses that he has found solace in several major religions, something that he was chastised for by his atheist father. When Pi was around sixteen his family made the decision to emigrate to Canada, sell the zoo’s animals and start afresh. On the voyage through the Indian Ocean their ship was struck by a huge storm from which only four survive. Pi is soon left almost alone with just a Bengal Tiger called Richard Parker for company, adrift on a vast but beautiful Ocean.