Journal of Romance Studies

Filming ethnographic Portugal

Miguel Gomes and the last taboo

Journal of Romance Studies (2016), 16, (2), 58–75.


Details

This article sets out to trace three frames of Portuguese cinematic archive reference (silenced imperial Portuguese propaganda; 1950s romantic comedy, and auto-ethnographic cinema) in Miguel Gomes’s film Tabu (2012). Asking how Portugal situates itself meta-cinematically in relation to the problems of colonial nostalgia and imperial disavowal, this article analyses the image of imperial Africa that an austerity-stricken Portugal re-invents in Tabu as the ‘other-where’ of its own dislocation in Europe. The risk that emerges in this sub-textual tracing of a Portuguese colonial cinema aesthetic is not, or not principally, that of nostalgia but rather that of the film’s complicity with the discourse of subaltern postcolonial difference and exceptionalism that Gomes ostensibly sets out to critique. In conclusion, I compare Gomes’s use of African colonial memory to engage with a similar problematic, this time explicitly framed in terms of Portugal’s relations with the EU, in his short film Redenção/Redemption, from 2013.

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Author details

Owen, Hilary