Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s remarkable debut feature is evidence that the possibilities of cinema are far from exhausted. Set in a school for deaf teenagers, the characters communicate solely in sign language, without dialogue or subtitles, creating a purely visual narrative in which cues must be taken primarily from body language. New pupil Sergey quickly becomes part of the gang that runs the school, and whose criminal activities include the prostitution of fellow students Svetka and Anna.
Tensions arise when Sergey falls in love with Anna, who is in the process of being trafficked to Italy, seemingly with her full consent. The use of diegetic sound reinforces the group’s separation from the hearing world in sometimes unexpected ways, and although the film features scenes of explicit sex and disturbing violence, it has a beauty of its own in the constant movement of the cast’s hands. (Notes by Kevin Coyne)
The Tribe will be one of the films discussed by our panel at The Critical Take, on May 25th at 18.30 (FREE event). Please note that an Irish sign language interpreter will be present at this event.
★★★★★ The Irish Times ★★★★★ Irish Independent