The Tribe

The Tribe ★★★★★

Along with Hush, The Tribe joins the ranks of incredibly exciting examples of "Deaf Cinema". This categorization would normally suggest boredom or heavy reliance on visual imagery. I'll agree, both have superb visual imagery with some truly gut-wrenching long takes, but "bored" is not how I would describe my reaction to The Tribe.

My lack of knowledge in sound is going to show through here, so bear with me. The Tribe is clearly the best use of foley since... who knows when. Normal sounds like brushing, scraping of feet, or breathing, are amplified twice as loudly. They become the soundscape of the film and add to the miserably harsh florescent lighting, highlighting the dirt of a film like this. One of the most impressive parts of this use of sound (or lack thereof) is this sudden craving for human voice it creates. You just want to hear something that isn't scuffling or physical torture. You beg for people to speak while they're signing, but you also simultaneously begin to understand what they are saying. Patterns are created and can be recognized. Some of them you don't want to recognize, but others go without saying.

Visual metaphors are also key into understanding relationships between characters and their relationships with their world around them. At one point, the film clearly places a woodworking class as a measure of phallic power, masculinity through tools and the refinement of those tools. The van that drives these students everywhere is a reminder of their poverty, but also a means for transition between scenes. It eclipses entire shots, and hides valuable information we can only guess at until the camera moves past the van.

Sergey walks onto the screen as a meek boy with very little social inertia. He walks out of the film with a swagger, a new and embrittled toughness that the world around him gave him. Sink or swim. It's a dramatic transformation that Hryhoriy Fesenko plays to a tee. What a performance.

This is fearless cinema at it's finest. Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi is a director for the future, a name I think if we already didn't, we will associate with greats in attacking cinema such as Lars Von Trier. No holds back, no giving up.