Spectacle Tabu and Film Reflection 奇观·禁忌与影像反思
About the Event 关于活动
The new video Adel Abdessemed created specially for the exhibition at RAM draws inspiration from the last sequence of the movie Tabu: A Story of the South Seas, which was made in 1931 by German director F.W. Murnau. In that last scene, the young man swam after his lover and sank into the ocean.
Tabu: A Story of the South Seas, created by documentary film pioneer Robert J. Flaherty and F.W. Murnau, presents a tale of two young Maori lovers on the idyllic island of Bora-Bora in Polynesia. It also casts light on the social conditions and customary traditions of the indigenous people, including the hierarchical system of their tribe, the semi-colonized life on the island, and business between the Chinese and the indigenous people. As Flaherty wanted to record the life on the island as it was and to depict how men got along with nature, which led to artistic disputes with Murnau, he left the island in the middle of the shooting. Flaherty's signature style could be perceived in the first half of the movie which features a kind of simple and approachable language of the camera. The second half of the movie is brimming with Murnau's aesthetic taste and his passion for dramatic tension. And such artistic visions could be seen in his emphasis on the freedom of love and the confrontation with cultural taboos.
The movie casts light on the exotic and somewhat mysterious lifestyle of the Maori people, presenting a landscape that is completely different from what so-called "usual" and daily life is supposed to be, which inspires anthropologists, visual anthropology practitioners, and the public to reflect upon spectacle, the exotic and the otherness. How to reflect upon ourselves and the world through the so-called "spectacles" and the study of the "otherness"? After the screening of Tabu: A Story of the South Seas, professor Zhu Jingjiang, Ph.D. in Anthropology of Peking University and director of Research Center of Visual Anthropology at Minzu University of China will join the Film Talk and share with the audience his viewpoints on the following topics:
1. "Tabu": Polynesian civilization in the South Pacific and its ethnography
2. The South Seas Trilogy by Flaherty: from Moana to Tabu: A Story of the South Seas
3. The indigenous "others" in Hollywood movies: body, desires, and Christian redemption
4. Visual spectacle and cultural taboo: reflections upon visual ethnology of contemporary anthropology
2. 弗拉哈迪的“南海三部曲”：从“摩阿纳”到“禁忌” ；
About the Speaker 关于主讲人
Zhu Jingjiang, Ph.D. in Anthropology of Peking University, is a professor and Ph.D. supervisor of the College of Ethnology and Sociology, director of Research Center of Visual Anthropology at Minzu University of China, and vice-chairman of Visual Anthropology Branch of China Ethnological Society. Zhu is the author of Light of the Fields, In the Wild and Watching, The Hometown Looks Back at the Pale, and The Fragrance of the Ink-Dyed Horseshoe.