Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24: Ticket To Ride

Tabu (1931, USA, dir. F.W. Murnau)

Murnau's last film, filmed in Bora Bora with non-professional actors. He died March 11 1931, a week before the film's premiere. Academy Award: cinematography, Floyd Crosby. Added to Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1994.

Aged emissary Hitu announces that a maiden sacred to their gods has died, and Reri is named her replacement because of her royal blood and virtue. She is tabu: "man must not touch her or cast upon her the eye of desire" upon penalty of death. She escapes the island by outrigger canoe with her lover Matahi.

Eventually they reach a French colony, half dead. Matahi becomes a pearl diver. Unfamiliar with the concept of money, he does not understand the bills he signs for drinks for everyone during a celebration. Hitu arrives on the island and informs Reri that she has three days to give herself up or Matahi will be put to death. When Matahi goes to buy tickets on a schooner, the shopkeeper takes the money as partial payment of his debt.

That night, Hitu returns with a spear. While Matahi sleeps, Reri agrees to return to Bora Bora to save his life. When Matahi wakes, he decides to get money diving for a pearl from a tabu region of the lagoon, guarded by a shark. Discovering that Reri has gone with Hitu, Matahi swims after Hitu's boat.

Murnau's films include Nosferatu (1922), The Last Laugh (1924), Faust (1926), and Sunrise (1927).

Cribbed from wikipedia

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