The End of History Through the Disclosure of Fiction: Indisciplinarity in Miguel Gomes’s Tabu (2012)



colonialism, Portuguese cinema, post-colonialism, indisciplinarity, Miguel Gomes


This article aims to discuss a new concept, the indisciplinary film, and proof its analytical benefits by studying an outstanding and prize-winning contemporary Portuguese example: Miguel Gomes’ Tabu (2012). The concept is inspired in Jacques Rancière’s idea of philosophy as an area of knowledge that thinks between disciplines, as well as in his notion of the aesthetic regime. I will argue that indisciplinarity in the context of cinema can substitute the essay film as a category and point out why and how it can shift the discussion towards key issues such as the relation between method and fiction, politics and aesthetics, and reception. It can serve as an analytical tool by means of exploring indisciplinary films’ main characteristics that can be resumed as follow: 1) co-presence of temporalities; 2) in-definition of borders between the reason of facts and the reason of fictions; 3) suspension of the opposition between the activity of thought and the passivity of sensible matter; and 4) re-composition of the landscape of the visible. With regard to Taboo, I will show that the film thinks Portugal’s colonial history between disciplines by addressing it in an unprecedented way that focuses mainly on the construction of fiction and spectator expectations. The bonds between film history and colonial history are straightened in a way that cannot be simply described by using current ideas associated with modern cinema and the author film such as auto-reflexivity or subjectivity. Film is used in such a way as to propose a model of the world that gravitates around our cultural experiences of relating to reality and history through fiction. Other than the written media, that, according to Vilém Flusser, aims to offer linear explications of our world, Gomes’ film proves the full potential of the technological codes and their capacity to make us understand how we are structuring History through fiction and how fiction can offer a deeper understanding of historical events. I will claim that Gomes sets new standards for film watching experiences in Portuguese cinema by constructing a two-parted film that engages (in “Paradise lost”) with a common woman, the Christian human rights activist Pilar, and her fascination with her upper class neighbour’s colonial background that becomes (in “Paradise”) a muted melodrama based on Aurora’s unhappy love story.




How to Cite

Ferreira, C. O. (2014). The End of History Through the Disclosure of Fiction: Indisciplinarity in Miguel Gomes’s Tabu (2012). Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, (5), 18–47. Retrieved from