Mario is en route to a gig with a gaggle of fans in a scene from Miguel Gomes' TABU. An Adopt Films release.

Tabu (2012)

Opened: 12/26/2012 Limited

Film Forum/NYC12/26/2012 - 01/08/201314 days
Cinema Village...01/18/2013 - 02/21/201335 days
Playhouse 701/25/2013 - 01/31/20137 days
Royal Theatre01/25/2013 - 01/31/20137 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home

Genre: Portuguese Romantic Drama (Portuguese w/English subtitles)

Rated: Unrated


PILAR spends her first years of retirement trying to straighten up the world and dealing with other people's guilt, an increasingly frustrating task these days. She takes part in peace vigils, collaborates with Catholic charities, wants to lodge young Polish girls coming to Lisbon on a Taize ecumenical meeting and constantly hangs up and takes down an ugly painting made by a friend so as not to offend his feelings should it not be in view when he comes to visit.

She is mostly troubled by her neighbor AURORA's loneliness, a temperamental and eccentric octogenarian who escapes to the casino whenever she has any money on her. She talks constantly about her daughter who seems to not want to see her, has hangovers from anti-depressants and suspects her Cape-Verdean maid SANTA is wickedly practicing voodoo against her. We know little of Santa, who is sparse with her words, follows orders and thinks that everyone should mind their own business. She goes to adult literacy classes and practices at night by reading a young reader's edition of Robinson Crusoe stretched out on her boss's couch while smoking cigarettes.

Before dying, Aurora will make a mysterious request and the other two join efforts to accomplish it. She wants to meet a man, GIAN LUCA VENTURA, someone nobody knew existed until then. Pilar and Santa will find that he does exist but are informed he is no longer sane. Ventura has a secret pact with Aurora and a story to tell; a story that occurred fifty years ago, shortly before the beginning of the Portuguese colonial war. It starts like this: "Aurora had a farm in Africa at the foothill of Mount Tabu..."

Filmmaker Biography

Born in Lisbon in 1972. He studied at the Lisbon Film and Theatre School and worked as a film critic for the Portuguese press between 1996 and 2000.

He directed several short films awarded in festivals such as Oberhausen, Belfort and Vila do Conde, and screened at Locarno, Rotterdam, Buenos Aires and Vienna. THE FACE YOU DESERVE (2004) was his first feature film. In 2008, he presented his film, OUR BELOVED MONTH OF AUGUST in the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, which was subsequently selected in more than forty international festivals where he won over a dozen prizes. The Viennale (Austria, 2008), Bafici (Argentina, 2009) and the Centro de Artes e Imaxes da Corunha (Spain, 2009) included retrospectives of his films. TABU is his third feature film.

Cast Biographies

Teresa Madruga (Pilar)

Teresa Madruga was born in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores in 1953. She began her acting career in theatre in 1976. Her work for directors such as Manoel de Oliveira, Joao Cesar Monteiro, Joao Canijo, Joao Pedro Rodrigues, Joao Botelho and Fernando Lopes stands out among a filmography of more than thirty titles. Her main part in Swiss director Alain Tanner's LA VILLE BLANCHE (1983) brought her international recognition and further work in Spanish, Italian and French productions. In 1995, she acted alongside Marcello Mastroianni in Roberto Faenza's AFIRMA PEREIRA. She has been recurrently awarded for her roles in film and stage (Best Actress at the Festival du Court Metrage de Clermont-Ferrand for D'APRES MARIA, from director Jean Claude Robert; Best Female Actor at Sete de Cinema for 'DANS LA VILLE BLANCHE). She worked for the Portuguese National Broadcast Radio Station, and lent her voice to more than eighty cartoons.

Laura Soveral (Old Aurora)

Laura Soveral was born in Angola in 1933. She was a kindergarten teacher in the Portuguese former colony but started acting when she settled in Lisbon. While studying Herman Philology at the Lisbon University she became interested in theatre. She debuted in the play DESEJA-SE MULHER by Almada Negreiros in 1963 and enrolled in the National Theatre Conservatory. After several television roles, she won the Best Cinema Actress award by the SNI (National Office of Culture) in 1968. While her career in cinema prospers, she continues acting for theatre, performing on major Portuguese stages. She has appeared in films by Manoel de Oliveira, Joao Botelho, Fernando Lopes, among many others. She still acts on television, regularly taking parts in soap operas.

Ana Moreira (Young Aurora)

Ana Moreira was born in Lisbon in 1980. She was 17 when she made her screen debut in the short film PRIMAVERA by Joao Tuna. One year later she played the lead role in OS MUTANTES, by Teresa Villaverde -- a turning point in her career -- for which she won Best Actress prizes at Bastia and Taormina film festivals. Teresa Villaverde would direct her again in AGUA E SAL (2001) and TRANSE (2006). She has appeared in films by Raquel Freire, Jose Nascimento, Jose Fonseca e Costa, Margarida Gil, Jorge Cramez and Joao Botelho, among others. In 1999 she was nominated for the Shooting Star Award by the European Film Promotion, and won, in 2006, Best Cinema Actress Golden Globe (Portuguese award) for her role in ADRIANA, by Margarida Gil.

Carloto Cotta (Young Ventura)

Carloto Cotta was born in Portugal in 1984. He attended high school at Cascais Theatre School and his final project was Inigo Ramirez's ME CAGO EM DIOS, which he translated, directed, and performed. It marked his first appearance on stage, and first in a Lisbon underground association. He has since acted in more than 30 shorts, features, and soap operas, working with, among others, Joao Pedro Rodrigues, Manuel Mozos, Jorge Cramez and Miguel Gomes, who directed him in A CARA QUE MERECES. He played the lead role in the Cannes Palme d'Or winning short film ARENA (2009), by Joao Salaviza, and appeared in the award-winning MISTERIOS DE LISBOA, by Raul Ruiz. He's been a member of the band Aves Migratorias for the past eight years.

Henrique Espirito Santo (Old Ventura)

Henrique Espirito Santo was born in Portugal in 1931. Between 1954 and 1963 he worked as a film society manager and was the author of several cinema related articles in the magazines Visor, Imagem, Actualidades, and Seara Nova. In 1967, he became an actor as well as a producer of films, documentaries, and television shows. He also was a film publicist. In 1976 he founded the production company Prole Filme and has taught film production in universities and film festivals since 1978. He has been a Production Manager for such directors as Joao Cesar Monteiro, Jose Fonseca e Costa, Alberto Seixas Santos and Manoel de Oliceira. He produced CERROMAIOR by Luis Filipe Rocha (1980), one of the first post-revolution films to explore social issues. In 1998, he developed the children's workshop HOW TO MAKE A MOVIE, and has been teaching it throughout Portugal ever since.

Isabel Cardoso (Santa)

Isabel Cardoso was born in Sao Tome in 1949. She is a cook for the day nursery at Unidos de Cabo Verde Association. Although she's not a professional actress, TABU is her third role under the direction of acclaimed directors: she appeared in two films by Pedro Costa, JUVENTUDE EM MARCHA (2006) and A CACA AO COELHO COM PAU/THE RABBIT HUNTERS (2007).

Ivo Muller (Aurora's Husband)

Ivo Muller was born in Brazil in 1977. In 1994, on a scholarship from the American Field Service, he began his studies in the United States. During that stay he became enamored of amateur theatre. He graduated with a degree in law in 2002, with the essay Copyright Laws and Cinematographic Work. For a short period he worked as a bank intern and paralegal, at the same time he was writing articles about cinema for the Guia Floripa website. He joined the theatre company Grupo Tapa (of which he's still a member) as an understudy in 2003.

He has won the APCA (Sao Paulo Association of Art Critics) 2010 Best Play award for DOZE HOMENS E UMA SENTENCA, directed by Eduardo Tolentino de Araujo. He is the author of the theatre monologue CARTAS A UM JOVEM POETA, based on texts from Rainer Maria Rilke. Ivo is a member of the CPT (Centre for Theatrical Research). TABU is his first film.

Manuel Mesquita (Mario)

Manuel Mesquita was born in Lisbon in 1977. He studied anthropology before turning to music and film. He composes film scores and appears regularly in films by Joao Nicolau who gave him his first lead role in A ESPADA E A ROSA. He is a member of the O Som e a Furia production company and appears in Sandro Aguilar's A ZONA. He is a musician with several Portuguese bands including Munchen and Norman, alongside Norberto Lobo and Joao Lobo.