Tabù probably would never have been made if it hadn't been for the reconciliation of Flaherty and Thalberg, of Paramount. The director was commissioned to write a subject set in the south seas (like Moana). Flaherty developed an idea for a film on natives and their conflicts born out of superstitions and ancient laws.Afraid that Flaherty would have favored the documentary approach at the expense of a more emotional take, Paramount asked Flaherty to find himself a co-director. He chose Murnau, who had just come to the U.S. after fleeing Nazi Germany. Murnau's presence provided just the emotional kick Paramount was looking for. Flaherty's neutrality, which was concerned with the environment and the reactions of his characters, clashed with Murnau's vision of cinema. Flaherty ended up leaving Bora-Bora because of insurmountable differences, and Murnau went on to finish the film alone. The story becomes a "sentimental intrigue," as Murnau himself put it - a young lust-filled couple in which the girl is deemed "tabù," or untouchable, by an elder priest. After an initial flight, the two find themselves involved in various escapades. But a cruel destiny lurks, waiting to thwart the youngsters. In the end, the girl is forced to return to the island, and her beau is killed by the priest.    The story's structure can undoubtedly be attributed to Flaherty - consider the places, the background for the action, that are filmed; the interest in the islanders' tradition; the force of pure, uncontaminated naturr. Murnau lends warmth. He concentrates on the characters, their conflicts - inner and outer, and their hesitations. Overall, Tabù is an interesting two-man operation. It is not always easy - nor is it indispensable - to figure out who is the film's main author. In 1949 to Georges Sadoul Fdlaherty said tath the film was surely a Murnau's one.

Film submission

23° Festival

CINEMAMBIENTE

01 October - 04 October 2020
TORINO

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CINEMAMBIENTE

 
JUNIOR

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