If there’s one thing I love, it’s a film that seeks to challenge and defy conventions – Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe is one such film.
Set in a Ukrainian boarding school for the deaf, The Tribe sets itself apart from many mainstream films purely because it takes a group of untrained deaf actors with little to no prior performing experience and places its audience alongside them. Through nothing but sign-language – yes, that means no subtitles, music or voice-over – the film develops a narrative that twists around the trials and hardships that go hand in hand with your teenage years.
Drafthouse Films has picked up the The Tribe and is prepping it for a release some time in 2015. And why not? The film took home three honors at this year’s Cannes Critic’s Week competition (the Nespresso Grand Prize, the France 4 Visionary Award and the Gan Foundation Support for Distribution grant) – which can only mean good things for a viewing audience that has become increasingly starved of originality and fresh ideas. And while the lack of sound will remind some of the Oscar-winning silent movie, The Artist, The Tribe appears to be a different beast entirely.
In the film, the protagonist, Sergey, attends the boarding school in question. An outcast in this strange new environment, he attempts to navigate his way through the different cliques and hierarchy that inevitably co-exist within the confines of life in school. There, he comes into contact with a group of students who deal in crime (prostitution to be precise) – a plot point which reminds us vaguely of Rian Johnson’s modern noir thriller, Brick. Once Sergey worms his way into the ‘Tribe,’ he climbs the social tree, before landing a position as protector for two prostitute girls. However, falling in love with one leads to bigger and bigger problems.
What do you think? Does The Tribe sound like your kind of film? Do you think a mute film will work with a large audience? As always, let us know in the comments section below.