Release Date: July 10, 2015
Running Time: 132 minutes
Director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe is set in a Ukrainian boarding school for deaf children, which appears to be nothing more than a breeding ground for a future generation of thugs. Grygoriy Fesenko plays the reticent Serhiy, a new student who aligns himself with the school’s criminal element in order to survive in this hostile environment. The Tribe follows Serhiy’s rise through the ranks and the affections he develops for a student he pimps out to truck drivers. The result is a brutal and disturbing portrait of youth corrupted and youth wasted. Slaboshpytskiy makes the bold decision to not subtitle the exchanges between the students and teachers that are conducted in sign language. It’s Slaboshpytskiy’s way of drawing us into a world absent of speech and noise so we can identify with its ruined inhabitants. Each scene plays out in such a way that it’s easy to deduce what is going on and where things may appear to be going. Slaboshpytskiy does not shoot close-ups, perhaps in order to fully focus on the interactions between Serhiy and his cohorts. This emphasis on sign language and body movement, though, denies us the opportunity to read the faces of the teenagers who are constantly faced with hard choices. Their naturalistic performances are never work allowed to engage us on an emotional level. Some scenes also drag on to the point of monotony, which diminishes the drama Slaboshpytskiy finds in Serhiy’s downfall. While Slaboshpytskiy doesn’t successfully pull off his cinematic experiment, he deserves applause for the risks he takes in The Tribe.
Aired: July 9, 2015
Web site: http://drafthousefilms.com/film/the-tribe