The Blind Spot of History: Colonialism in Tabu

Lúcia Nagib

Abstract


This article looks at the film Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012) as an example of the negative use of cinema for realist ends. The film addresses Portugal’s tainted colonial past by means of a relentless questioning of the film medium and its representational properties, whilst the horrors of colonialism in Africa – the main issue at stake – remain conspicuous by their absence. Indeed, Tabu gravitates around an irresistible, all-consuming black hole, where the sombre legacy of colonialism makes itself felt by resisting representation. This article analyses two opposites, but complementary movements in the film: on the one hand, the foreclosure of history, and, on the other, the grounding of the story in the reality of both the objective world and the medium itself. The aim will be to define a possible truth procedure, as defined by Badiou, contained in the film’s self-defeating fantasy.

Keywords


Tabu; Portuguese cinema; Colonialism; Miguel Gomes; Realism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS0001812

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/