Director: Robert Flaherty, F.W. Murnau Cast: Matahi Hitu, Matahi


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Tabu is a lyrical documentary of Polynesian life, given added audience appeal with a fictional plotline. The story concerns a young island girl (Anna Chevalier, who like everyone in the cast is a non-professional) who has been consecrated to the gods by her tribespeople. It is thus "tabu" for her to marry; still, she falls in love with a handsome young pearl fisherman (Matahi). The island's holy man takes the girl away in his schooner. Her lover swims after her, but eventually sinks disconsolately into the ocean. Shot completely on location, it was supposed to be a collaboration between German director F. W. Murnau and American documentary producer Robert Flaherty. Flaherty withdrew from the project when he realized the film was taking a romanticized approach. Murnau never lived to see the final product; he was killed in a car accident just before the film's opening. Begun as a silent film in 1929, Tabu was released in that form in 1931, despite the fact that talking pictures already had been established for nearly three years.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/08/2015
UPC: 0738329201920
Original Release: 1931
Rating: NR
Source: Kino Classics
Region Code: 1
Time: 1:26:00
Sales rank: 79,962

Special Features

The language of shadows: Tabu, a 15-minute documentary by Luciano Berriatúa on the making and restoration of the film "Tabu: Takes & Outtakes," 26 minutes of previously unseen sequences, assembled by Enno Patalas from unused footage, courtesy of the Österreichisches Filmmuseum Wien and Cineteca del Comune di Bologna "Tabu: A Work in Progress" ("Tabu: Feature zur Werkgenese"), 15 minutes of raw camera footage, with narration, produced by the Deutsche Kinemathek "Hunt in the South Seas" ("Treibjagd in der Südsee"), a 1940 ethnographic short compiled from unused footage of Tabu

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Tabu
1. Chapter 1 [10:07]
2. Chapter 2 [11:36]
3. Chapter 3 [13:20]
4. Chapter 4 [4:23]
5. Chapter 5 [11:57]
6. Chapter 6 [10:29]
7. Chapter 7 [7:06]
8. Chapter 8 [2:19]
9. Chapter 9 [14:53]

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Tabu 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For discerning fans of classic filmmaking, the surviving work of director F.W. Murnau remains some of the most significant and stunning of the silent era. Filmed entirely in Tahiti, ¿Tabu¿ would prove to be Murnau¿s last film (he died in a tragic car accident on March 11, 1931, just weeks before the film¿s premiere) and most unusual ¿ he actually collaborated with director Robert Flaherty (¿Nanook of the North¿) in this tale of two doomed lovers that unintentionally transports ¿Romeo and Juliet¿ into the South Pacific. Unlike his landmark expressionist titles such as ¿Nosferatu¿ and ¿Faust,¿ Murnau¿s ¿Tabu¿ is set mostly outdoors and features dazzling images of beautiful young native men and women at home in their Polynesian paradise in the first part of the film, with haunting images used to chronicle tragedy and paradise lost in the second half of the 81 minute classic. Although no members of the cast were professional actors, the performances by Matahi (as a young pearl fisherman) and Reri (as the ¿tabu¿ island girl) are moving. More than 70 years after its release, ¿Tabu¿ remains essential viewing, and UCLA¿s restoration of this classic has been a highlight of the schedule of new DVD releases in 2002. In fact, the film¿s luxurious black-and-white cinematography garnered cameraman Floyd Crosby an Oscar.