Tabu (1931)

Genres - Culture & Society, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Anthropology, Docudrama  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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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.

Characteristics

Keywords

girl, forbidden-love, God, island, star-crossed-lovers, life, tropical, native, purity, romance, swimming, fate, fishing, pearl, sailing, taboo

Attributes

High Artistic Quality, High Production Values