A deaf teenager enters a specialized boarding school where, to survive, he becomes part of a wild organization - the tribe. His love for one of the concubines will unwillingly lead him to break all the unwritten rules within the Tribe's hierarchy.Written by
Enchanting visual poetry, but too chilly to connect.
2014 was a year of impressive films that utilized supposed 'gimmicks.' Boyhood had its 12 years, Birdman has its single shot, The Grand Budapest Hotel played with ratios, and The Tribe, a film that played well at film festivals without breaking out anywhere, has unsubtitled Ukrainian sign language. It's bold, and tough to get used to, but you have to subdue yourself to the fact that you will never know the details. It's kind of a shame, the beauty of film is in the details, but The Tribe has enchanting visual poetry. A lot of the film is done in long takes, often following characters from behind with steadicam leading to a separate scenario, and it's immaculately choreographed. The extent of Miroslav Slaboshpitsky's ambition exhausts itself there however, although it does have inventive A Clockwork Orange-esque brutality. There's a cold intimacy between the characters, whether it be through punches or sex, but we're not with them. It's a film that deliberately pushes the audience away by being lost in translation. With characters acting solely as archetypal figures, it lacks anything to identify with. It's such a shame because it could have been more concisely powerful rather than a purely superficial and disconnected experience. No deaf person will sleep well afterwards though, even if they don't understand the sign language. It touches a nerve there at least.
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