An issue I've always had with silent films is their constant use of background music that inevitably starts to become exhausting. Unfortunately, Tabu is no exception as by the 40 minute mark I started falling asleep. Doesnt help that this doesnt feel like a Murnau film whatsoever as the shots had none of his trademark visual lyricism. I guess the exoticism of the location was supposed to make up for this absence.
Twice does Matahi break the tabu. The first time when he flees with his beloved one, Reri ("tabu"). He gains love. The second time when he pearl dives in forbidden ("tabu") shark-infested waters. He gains a means to pay his debts. Despite the ending, he always gains. Reri was haunted by the threat of the tabu, she could not adapt to a new way of living and thinking. Thus, to NOT break this tabu means death.
A bit of a capital-E Event in the history of cinema on account of being (or at least beginning as) a collaboration between Murnau and documentary pioneer Robert Flaherty, TABU ended up as a notable precursor to the 'ethnofictions' of Jean Rouch, Murnau collaborating w/ his subjects, on both sides of the camera. Tropes and chronotopes from SUNRISE and CITY GIRL are recycled, the whole thing a whirligig astonishment.
La admirable inventiva del movimiento, que tiene como signo, evidentemente, el mar, pero en conjunción con los cuerpos de cada uno de los participantes de la comunidad: mujeres y hombres bailarines. Mujer-tabu que como en Mizoguchi responde una y otra vez a la opresión, fantasma de la tradición, en una ambivalencia entre el deseo y la protección del que desea. Terminamos, entonces, en el melodrama: mujer crucificada.
well, I was pretty confused with this movie, sometimes the story became silly (in my opinion) and also the love story seemed totally irrelevant or plain. Although I wouldn't want to make the mistake, because it's not a so simple movie and it does has other "hidden" meanings.Although they were not that meaningful for me, there were some good scenes or moments however it left no mark on me.
A beautiful, heartwarming love story set among the idyllic islands of the South Pacific. No doubt Murnau would have adapted most proficiently to talking pictures, had he not died so close into their infancy (just a week before the film's premiere). But this shows that his own voice and vision as a director were already at a remarkable and intelligible height.