The Tribe

Movies, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
The Tribe

On paper, The Tribe sounds like it was dreamt up by the Department for Spoofing World Cinema: It’s Ukrainian, it has no dialogue and, uniquely, all the main characters communicate solely in sign language (without subtitles). 

Those characters are deaf students at the most squalid, dysfunctional boarding school imaginable. They roam the neighborhood in gangs, unleash acts of extreme violence on each other and pimp out the girls to truck drivers at rest stops. The Tribe artfully explores this world from the perspective of Sergey (Grigoriy Fesenko), a newcomer to this hellish school, who rapidly climbs the ladder of depravity.

Beyond the hypnotic use of sign language, what we get is a bleak vision of a society gone to seed. The world of The Tribe feels like a parable of poverty-induced horror. The film must come with several warnings. It’s extremely disturbing at points (there’s a horrific backstreet abortion scene), and the silence itself—actually, the nonspeaking, atmospheric sound takes on a life of its own—is hard work, meaning that you have to let whole swathes of story wash over you. But those same obstacles also give this strange story a deeply original, hallucinatory power.

By: Dave Calhoun


Release details

Rated: N/R
Release date: Wednesday June 17 2015
Duration: 132 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky
Screenwriter: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky
Cast: Grigoriy Fesenko
Yana Novikova
Rosa Babiy
1 person listening