Primary Image

Tabu (Masters of Cinema) in November

Eureka Entertainment have announced the UK DVD release of F. W. Murnau's Tabu as part of their Masters of Cinema Series on 19th November 2007. Joining the new edition of Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror and a Mizoguchi double-bill details on Tabu follow…

In 1929, F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu, Faust, Sunrise), one of the greatest of all film directors, invited leading documentarist Robert Flaherty (Nanook of the North, Moana, Man of Aran) to collaborate on a film to be shot on location in Tahiti, a Polynesian idyll in which Murnau imagined a cast of island actors would provide a new form of authentic drama and offer rare insight into their "primitive" culture. The result of their collaboration was Tabu, a film that depicts the details of indigenous island life to tell a mythical tale that is rich in the universal themes of desire and loss.

Subtitled a "Story of the South Seas", Tabu concerns a Tahitian fisherman (played by an islander, Matahi) and his love for a young woman (played by fellow islander Reri, who went on to star on Broadway) whose body has been consecrated to the gods, rendering her tabu as far as mortal men are concerned. The lovers flee their island and its restrictive traditions, but will their love prevail in the "civilised" world?

Though Flaherty eventually left the film following a series of artistic and other differences (the film is credited as being "told by" Murnau and Flaherty, but directed by Murnau alone), what their South Seas adventure left behind was an Oscar winning film (the Academy Award went to cinematographer Floyd Crosby for his lyrical vision of island life) that is both poetic and simple in tone. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present, completely uncensored and fully restored, this landmark film of rare exoticism and magical beauty, described by critic Lotte Eisner in 1931 as "the apogee of the art of the silent film".

Features include:

  • A 96-page book featuring much archival imagery; articles by Scott Eyman (film critic and author of The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution, 1926–1930); Richard Griffiths (author of The World of Robert Flaherty), and David Flaherty (Robert's brother and assistant director on the film); an interview with the film's cinematographer Floyd Crosby; and the original story treatments written by F.W. Murnau and Robert Flaherty for Tabu and its aborted predecessor Turia.
  • Full-length commentary track. Details TBA
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • More extras TBA

Category News

Latest Articles