Reviewer: James Ackland
Film Genre - Drama
Label - Bonsai Films
Audio - English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Running Time - 132 mins
Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1
Region Coding - 4
TV Standard - PAL
Rating - R18+
Year of Release - 2014
Primary Format - Movies/TV - DVD
BUY IT HERE!
Boarding school never looked so harsh and ugly as it does here in THE TRIBE. I've reviewed both Scum and Salo for the site (you could say I'm the euro teenage abuse connoisseur around here) and both of those films share much with this debut film from writer/director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy.
In an unnamed Ukrainian town, a board school for the deaf is simmering with petty crime and horrendous abuse.
The “tribe" are like the boarding school Odessa mafia. Stealing, pimping teenage prostitutes at truck stops, beating passers by and making life tough for anyone new to the boarding school.
When a new boy goes through the hazing trials and becomes part of the tribe he makes the mistake of falling in love with one of the valuable female prostitutes. The Tribe can give and the tribe can take away. This leads to one of the most unsettling climaxes i’ve ever seen.
The truly compelling aspect of the film is that fact that not a single word is spoken during the entire film and while we’re accustomed to sub-titles for sign language translation … there is nothing to help you in this film. You have to pay attention to the following scenes in order to follow the story and let your brain catch up to the previous content. Sex and Violence happen without any vocalisation. It makes for hypnotic viewing. And really you have to keep your eyes on the screen to take it all in. One can't help but start the dialogue in their own head. Again, silently. It work surprisingly well!
Cinematographer Valentyn Vasyanovych's steady cam floats through this decrepit landscape. Lingering for very long takes that lets the characters get from A to B in the scene. It’s really a horrid world these kids make their way through and it tells on the expressions on their faces. There are few moments of kindness and tenderness. But when they do arrive, it’s welcome.
Another sensory deprivation i discovered was the lack of score or music at all. Again, a really useful way to keep you in the deaf world.
Here we are witnesses and explore how we perceive people with deafness and those afflicted with the removal of a sense we take for granted.
Slaboshpytskiy and the film have won plenty of awards, so while being one of the more brutal films of the last few years, it definitely deserves your time.
European dark cinema has a reputation, and The Tribe continues this reputation, one of dark and confronting issues and images.