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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Tabu [Blu-ray]


(Miguel Gomes, 2012)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: O Som e a Fúria

Video: New Wave Cinema



Region: 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:58:03.583

Disc Size: 23,558,622,586 bytes

Feature Size: 19,827,025,920 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.49 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 14th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 1869 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1869 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio Portuguese 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit



English, none



• A Christmas Inventory (21:29)
31 Means Trouble (27:44)

Trailer (1:58)





Description: After Our Beloved Month of August, Miguel Gomes returns with Tabu, an engaging, provocative and poetic film set both in Portugal and in an un-named African location.

Bearing the same title as F. W. Murnau s classic Tabu (1931), shot in black and white and taking place at least partly in a distant land, Gomes third feature film is divided in two distinctive yet complementary storylines.

Whilst the first part, shot in 35mm and in the present time, portrays a society wallowing in nostalgia, the second part, shot in 16mm, goes back in time and plays with history, sound, the concept of linear narration, as well as the ideas of melodrama, slapstick, passion and tragedy. Both parts feature Aurora at two different stages of her life: an older Aurora regrets a past long gone while a younger Aurora dreams of a more passionate life. A virtuoso film, Tabu also offers a reflection on Europe s colonial past.



The Film:

An impressionistic enterprise, ‘Tabu’ is more satisfying in its latter half: the aestheticised lethargy of the first part – though frequently lovely – is less successful than the second part’s gorgeously realised yet carefully ironic melodrama. Recalled across a great distance of time, space and experience, this narrated tale enriches the film’s first half while setting up challenges of its own: at once heroic and shabby, the love affair’s self-romanticising tendency is of a piece with Gomes’s lyrical yet distanced technique. Evoking work as disparate as that of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Guy Maddin and Claire Denis – with a dash of ‘The Artist’ thrown in – ‘Tabu’ is a tantalising trip.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Even more than in "Our Beloved Month of August," Miguel Gomes begins "Tabu" in a seemingly ridiculous vein and unexpectedly shifts to something surprisingly enriching and poetic. The first part is a maddeningly artificial story of an elderly woman and her kind neighbor in Lisbon, and then, jumping back in time and place to Africa, the film becomes the story of an illicit love told via voiceover and ambient sound rather than dialogue.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Tabu is released on Blu-ray from New Wave Cinema in the UK.  The black and white 1.33:1 image quality varies between the sharp-looking present and the grain-rich past in Mozambique.  This is only single-layered and isn't perfect but can look quite fetching in 1080P. Contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels, there is no moiring and detail is impressive in close-ups. There is some depth in the present and the texture of the opposing period is very appealing. It draws an easily identifiable dividing line between the two and establishes aura very well. This Blu-ray has a clean, consistent feel and it definitely advances beyond SD in several key areas.

















Audio :

Audio defaults to a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo track at 1536 kbps and there is also a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 1869 kbps with a few rear channel separations. Nothing is overly remarkable and any scattered dialogue seems vérité. There is no demonstrative depth and there are optional English subtitles. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Supplements included two Gomes shorts - A Christmas Inventory from 2000 runs about 20 minutes in Portuguese with English subtitles and 31 Means Trouble (also referred to as '31') runs 28-minutes and has a tennis-background motif. There is also a 2-minute trailer.



What an absolute Gem! Tabu is brilliant!! It is such a layered, multi-faceted cinema experience with signals and visual hints popping up consistently... and beautifully! I thoroughly enjoyed it and expect those who give over to it - will be as impressed as I was. The Blu-ray does its job well - the 1080P image is rich and... wonderful to behold the b/w visuals. The shorts are a nice addition too and we give this package a very strong recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

January 8th, 2013


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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