• Featured_exhib_film_hiff-tabu

    Anne Chevalier in "Tabu."




Tuesday Oct 15 03:45 PM


Doris Duke Theatre

About the Film:

Directed by F.W. Murnau and Robert J. Flaherty. USA. 1931. 82 mins.

Filmed on location in Tahiti, Tabu was F. W. Murnau’s last film—he died in a car crash a week before the premiere. Perhaps best known for his still-terrifying Nosferatu, the granddaddy of horror films, Murnau teamed up with mining engineer-turned ethnographic documentary filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty (Nanook of the North, Moana) to interpret a traditional legend in this classic silent movie. Using non-professional actors (the opening credits include this note: “Only native-born South Sea islanders appear in this picture with a few half-castes and Chinese”), Murnau and and Flaherty tell the story of Reri and Matahi, two island youths who fall in love. They live a South Pacific idyll until she is chosen to be the Sacred Maiden who acts as an intermediary between the gods and the people. The couple flee to Takapota, which is bustling with commerce, and Matahi becomes a star pearl diver. But they can’t escape Reri’s fate.

View the trailer.

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