The Tribe

The Tribe ★★★½

Violent institutions beget more violence in THE TRIBE, a contemporary silent film in Ukrainian Sign Language. The lack of subtitles or audible speaking throughout the entire film force its visuals to carry the full storytelling bulk. The grim realities of this school are covered in excruciating detail, often to severe repetition, with long shots hovering smoothly behind characters or drilling into steady one-shots as painful acts occur. Grim is the dominant mode of THE TRIBE, an interesting choice to contrast its message of language comprehension universality with that of corrupting and damaging systems, of which actors either conform or get crushed. The "gimmick" of this film will not intrigue most viewers, but it's significant that it exists. THE TRIBE is a pretty unique vision, and though its harsh storyline isn't difficult to comprehend even without the usual footholds of dialogue or subtitles, it forces viewers to depend on their underutilized understanding of visual technique.