Director: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky
Screenplay: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky
Starring: Grigoriy Fesenko, Yana Novikova, Rosa Babiy
Country: Ukraine, Netherlands
Running Time: 132 min
BBFC Certificate: 18
Set in a Ukrainian boarding school for the deaf, The Tribe (a.k.a. Plemya) follows a young man as he joins the school and struggles to fit in. He is taken under the wing of a group of students known as The Tribe who, with the help of their woodwork teacher, commit many violent crimes ranging from muggings all the way to prostitution. As the story progresses he falls in love with one of the prostitutes as well as rising up into the higher echelons of the gang which causes many problems including confrontations with the top dog.
This is a very raw view on the Ukrainian deaf mafia which director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky draws on his experiences as a crime reporter in Kiev. A beautiful cinematic masterpiece it is shot entirely with sign language but do not let this put you off because the acting is so emotive that you will be able to understand the movie as it unfolds before your very eyes. It proves that with good acting and direction there can be no true language barrier. I would also like to take a moment here to say that the actors that were used in this production are mostly unknowns who have done a wonderful job in drawing the viewer into a seedy underworld the likes of which very few people see.
The film itself is very graphic, be it sex in a boiler room, a man being beaten for his shopping and wallet or even an illegal abortion. At times the style even reminds me of the unabashed use of graphic imagery used in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 classic A Clockwork Orange.
It was first shown at the Cannes film festival on the 21st of may 2014 where it truly impressed both the critics and the audience. It has so far earned accolades at many festivals including The Cannes film festival, where it won the Nespresso Grand Prize, the Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Award and the France 4 visionary award. This is Miroslav’s first feature length film but he has previously directed four short films, Intsydent in 2006, Diagnosis in 2009, Deafness in 2010 and Nuclear Waste in 2012 which are available on youtube and well worth taking a bit of time to watch.
I would highly recommend this film to people who enjoy either artistic films or crime dramas. I eagerly await Miroslav Slaboshpitsky’s next film Luxembourg which is due for release in 2016.
The Tribe is released on DVD in the UK on 14th September by Metrodome.