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Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)

7.7
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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. ... See full summary »

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Title: Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Matahi ...
The Boy
Anne Chevalier ...
The Girl (as Reri)
Bill Bambridge ...
The Policeman (as Jean)
Hitu ...
The Old Warrior
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Storyline

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 ? Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | pearl | love | debt | lovers | See more »


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 March 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tabu  »

Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(R.C.A. Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally conceived as a co-venture with documentarian Robert J. Flaherty. As work on the project progressed, it became increasingly clear to Flaherty that F.W. Murnau did not adapt well to co-directing and that he was being squeezed off the film. A factor helping Murnau in this was that he was one of the chief financiers. See more »

Quotes

The Girl: [writing a goodbye letter] I must go. Hitu is here and waits for me. You will die if I do not obey. I will go so that you may live. The tabu is upon us. I have been so happy with you far more than I deserved. The love you have given me, I will keep to the last beat of my heart. Across the great waters, I will come to you in your dreams when the moon spreads its path on the sea. Farewell.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Thin Red Line (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony 'Má vlast'
(1874-79) (uncredited)
Written by Bedrich Smetana
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User Reviews

 
Unique and beautiful.
3 June 1999 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

There has never been another film like "Tabu". This is a unique blending of ethnographic documentary and expressionist drama, from two directors who were masters of these forms.

The actors are real Polynesians and their ceremonies and rituals are faithfully captured, and interwoven with a tragic love story. The cinematography deservedly won an Oscar - it is truly beautiful. Murnau, away from his usual studio sets, manages to create the same sense of danger using natural light - especially moonlight - and real locations.

The performances are very strong - especially Chevalier as the girl, and the old man is as scary as Nosferatu as he haunts her dreams at night.

Sadly this was Murnau's last film - he died in a car crash just before the premiere. It is a little dramatically uneven, and certainly not the masterpiece that "Sunrise" is, but it is still very worthwhile.


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