In the opening scene of "Tabu," the latest film by director Miguel Gomes, we learn "you can run as long as you can and as far as you can, but you cannot escape your heart." This warning will haunt Aurora, a glamorous but mentally unstable elderly woman living in Lisbon whose servant and lonely neighbor are her constant companions.
Gomes ("The Face You Deserve" (2004), "Our Beloved Month Of August" (2008)) walks a tightrope between the present and past in his new two-part film; we find ourselves in modern day Lisbon and somewhere in the twilight of colonial Africa, on the fictitious foothills of Mount Tabu. The Portuguese are shown in crisp white attire, being served drinks by African servants and playing in cover bands as the empire crumbles around them.
In the first part of the film, we see Aurora in Lisbon, gambling her money away, but in the second part young Aurora is a risk-taker in love. Both predictably fail in their attempts to win the game, but the results are worth watching nonetheless.
"Tabu" premieres today at Film Forum in New York.