Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)
Added July 13, 2010Video Info
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Tabu (also called Tabu, a Story of the South Seas) is a 1931 film directed by F.W. Murnau. The film
...Tabu (also called Tabu, a Story of the South Seas) is a 1931 film directed by F.W. Murnau. The film is split into two chapters, the first called "Paradise" depicts the lives of two lovers on a South Seas island until they are forced to escape the island when the girl is chosen as a holy maid to the gods. The second chapter, "Paradise Lost" depicts the couple's life on a colonised island and how they adapt to and are exploited by Western civilisation. According to an intertitle at the beginning, "only native-born South Sea islanders appear in this picture with a few half-castes and Chinese". The title of the film comes from the concept of tapu (sometimes spelled tabu, which originated the concept of taboo). It is a form of sacredness in many Polynesian cultures (see: tapu (Polynesian culture).
The film's story was written by Robert J. Flaherty and F.W. Murnau. With the exception of the opening scene the film was directed solely by Murnau. This was his last film. He died in hospital after an automobile accident on 11 March 1931, a week before the film's premiere in New York.
Cinematographer Floyd Crosby won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on this film. In 1994, Tabu was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
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