This Monday’s stunning silent movie is done by one of Germany’s most significant film directors of the silent era, Friedrich W. Murnau (M, Nosferatu, Faust)

TABU – A Story of the South Seas
1931, 87 min., dir. F. W. Murnau,  English inter-titles

DATE: 12 AUGUST
TIME: 5.00 p.m.
VENUE: Howard College, MTB West Wing, 1st Floor, German Programme, Media Room F251

About the film:
In one island of Bora Bora lagoon, a young fisherman, Matahi, is in love with Reri. But she is chosen to be the holy maid and therefore becomes “tabu”. They ran away from that tradition. Will they be happier and luckier in the more “civilized” society ? 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. The title of the film comes from the Polynesian concept of tapu (spelled tabu in Tongan before 1943), from which is derived the English word “taboo.”

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.

For further information please contact: 
Dr Marion Pape
German Studies
School of Arts
Email: papem@ukzn.ac.za
Tel: 0027-31-260 1086 / 2380
Fax: 0027-31-260 1242

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