Tabu's Brilliant Look at Colonial Fantasy

Let's go native


Written and directed by Miguel Gomes
Adopt Films
Opens December 26, Film Forum

While making a supremely wistful film about the deceit of wistfulness, Gomes's Tabu indulges in no crocodile tears. Its upbeat tempo is set by the Madagascar group Les Surfs' '60s cover of "Be My Baby," heard in both halves of the movie, while the Phil Spector–produced Ramones rendition of Spector's own "Baby, I Love You" issues from the band in which Gianluca sits in on drums. Their single, the narration tells us, would become "a cult object for its rarity and simplicity"—a fair prediction of the future in store for Gomes's work of sophisticated primitivism, which finds aching truth in the phrase "The past is another country."

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