The Tribe

The Tribe ★★★★

This uncompromisingly brutal film tells the story of a deaf-mute boy who enters the insular world of a boarding school for deaf-mutes, and is initiated into a corrupt and criminal clique within the school (the eponymous "tribe.") Since the entire film plays for its 130 minutes in Ukrainian signing with no subtitles or words of any kind, the viewer is thrust into an unfamiliar world with few signposts. Along the way, the audience is subjected to unimaginable violence, raw sex, and the most graphic abortion scene since 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. That the film is formally groundbreaking, reminiscent of such exemplars of assaultive hyper-realism as Haneke, Dumont and the Dardenne brothers, is what makes the film worth watching. Incidentally, the entire cast is comprised of actual deaf-mute non-actors. What the director achieved with this canvas was quite extraordinary, even if I was totally repelled by the film and its message.

Ken liked these reviews