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Tabu: A Story of the South Seas  /  Legong: Dance of the Virgins

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)
November 22, 2015 - 3:00 pm
Janet Bergstrom, UCLA.

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by Floyd Crosby.

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas  (1931)

A unique collaboration of F. W. Murnau and documentarian Robert Flaherty resulted in this simple story about the love of a Tahitian fisherman for a young woman whose body has been consecrated to the gods, rendering her tabu for mortal men.  The filmmakers had their differences, and Flaherty sold his interest in the film.  Finished by Murnau, the film is a luminous and lyrical masterpiece.

35mm, b/w, 81 min.  Production: Golden Bough, Inc.  Distribution: Paramount Publix Corp.  Director: F. W. Murnau.  Cinematographer: Floyd Crosby.  Editor: Arthur Brooks.  Composer: Hugo Riesenfeld.  With: Matahi, Reri, Hitu, Jean, Jules.

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with David Gillespie, Dr. Chris McCabe and The Museum of Modern Art Department of Film (NY) with funding provided by the AFI/NEA Preservation Grants Program.

Legong: Dance of the Virgins  (1935)

This narrativized travelogue set in Bali is one of the last films produced in two-color Technicolor.  A young girl serves as a sacred dancer at her village temple, falls in love with a young musician there, and faces a rival in her own sister.  Much of the dramatic action is sublimated through performance of ritual dances forming a fascinating fusion of fiction and documentary modes. 

35mm, color, 60 min.  Production: Bennett Pictures Corp.  Distribution: Paramount International Corporation.  Director: Henri de la Falaise.  Cinematographer: William H. Greene.  Editor: Howard Schroeder.

Preceded by

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Hearst Metrotone News

March 19, 1930, Vol. 1, No. 249

Featured stories include Singapore’s Taipusan festival honoring the god of prosperity, baby chicks hatching in Peoria, Illinois in anticipation of Easter, and U.S. machine gunners chopping down trees with a method all their own. 

35mm, b/w, 8 min.