Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas
Director: F.W. Murnau
Writer: F.W. Murnau, Robert J. Flaherty, Edgar G. Ulmer
Cast: Matahi, Anne Chevalier, Bill Bambridge, Hitu, Ah Fong, Jules, Mehao
Seen on: 14.4.2018

On Bora Bora, a young boy (Matahi) and a young girl (Anne Chevalier) fall in love. But when the girl is declared the Chosen Maid, the sacred virgin of the island by their leader, an old warrior (Hito), not even the thought of love is allowed anymore. But the boy and the girl are not willing to accept that and decide to flee.

Tabu is on the one hand an interesting look at Bora Bora’s society at the time and a glimpse at a world mostly unfamiliar to Western audiences. On the other hand it’s a white, exoticizing, racist mess that needs to be looked at with a tablespoon of salt.

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Nanook of the North (1922)

Nanook of the North
Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Cast: Allakariallak, Nyla, Allee, Cunayou, Allegoo
Seen on: 13.5.2016
[You can watch it here.]

Nanook (Allakariallak) and his family (Nyla, Allee, Cunayou, Allegoo) are Inuit, living under some to the harshest conditions you can possibly imagine. But despite the perils and hardships, they master their lives very well.

Nanook of the North is touted as the first feature length documentary and as such it is, of course, a historically important document – even though its documentary-status is questionable. Whether fiction or not, it is interesting to watch though.

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