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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

THE TRIBE


By D.E.Levine

A New Directors New Films 2015 Selection

This film proved to be fascinating because it has no spoken dialogue.  The writing and directing debut of Ukranian filmmaker Myroslav Slaboshptyskly, the entire film is performed believably by a deaf and mute cast of non-professional actors who communicate completely in sign language.

Action centers around a government run school for the deaf and mute where the youthful attendees have dealt with their disabilities and challenges by turning to prostitution and crime.

Initial opening scenes show Sergey (Grigony Fesenko), a newly enrolled student at the school, who makes his way there and arrives during a celebration.  While welcomed by the staff, he encounters hazing by fellow students who quickly initiate him into less educational pursuits.

Having passed the hazing rituals and been accepted into The Tribe, Sergey starts at the bottom of the thug/criminal hierarchy.  Starting off as a thief, he rises to the role of pimp, scheduling two female classmates who service truck drivers at a local truck stop.

The school's wood shop teacher is not only the van driver for pimping the girls out, but also plans to send the girls to Italy.  Sergey has fallen in love with Anna (Yana Novikova) one of the student prostitutes.  This liaison constitutes a break in the rigid laws of The Tribe which leads to a brutal finale.

Perhaps most surprising is the fact that each character retains his individuality despite being part of a regimented and exploitative society.  Despite not being professional actors, the young men and women in the film are totally believable as their sign language, body language and facial expressions clearly convey the emotions of individuals struggling to retain that individuality.