“Tabu. A Story of the South Seas” (1931) was Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s last film. Over the years the film has been repeatedly edited and now exists in a variety of positive copy versions and re-released editions. The original film negatives, however, appear to no longer exist.
This KUR project by the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek secured, copied and documented the original context film material (ca. 15,000 m of film reels), stored at the Austrian Film Museum and the film archive at the German National Archive. An important aspect of these measures was to research and document all the material that was relevant to the film. This included Murnau’s unpublished writings and photos which, accompanied by his production notes, helped film scholars piece together the genesis of the film.
This mass of documentation enabled scholars to learn more about how the film came about, how it changed and was received over the years. In addition to this scientific documentation, the project developed an innovative computer-aided model for recording moving pictures, text and image media. In the future, this can provide users with methods for accessing the materials and demonstrate how audio-visual cultural assets can be safeguarded. The results of the project are available to researchers and the general public on a non-commercial DVD edition and on the Deutsche Kinemathek website.

Project administrator:
Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek

Cooperative partners:
Austrian Film Museum Vienna
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation, Wiesbaden

Mu­seum Global?

The Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the MMK Frankfurt wish to address the effects of globalisation and digitalisation in a project that explores the complex subject of “globalism” and the challenges it brings. With their project “museum global?” they scrutinise modernity and the canon upon which it is based.

Learn more about the project


Dr. Rainer Rother
Artistic Director
Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek

Potsdamer Straße 2

10785 Berlin

Tel.: +49 (0)30 30090311