The Tribe (2014) – What a Profound Hopeless Cinema

Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi’s “The Tribe” is a movie with an odd way of speaking. The movie is using a sign language from the beginning to the end. It became one of the breakthroughs. Rarely films use a different view, especially the use of actors who, as a whole, are deaf. But, I can’t imagine what if I watch this in a movie theater. Surely, a lot of people would walk out but I just want to stay. After watching it, it left you with such an ambiguous feeling. You don’t know what you want to say but it seems like you have seen something so spectacular.

Simply put, the story is about an innocent young man who is trying to stay in school. The school has all kinds of bad things ranging from robbery, oppression, prostitution, and others. But, this young man is trying to adapt and survive in school. He later became a part of a wild organization called the Tribe. The first opening scene emphasizes this film doesn’t use subtitles, dialogue, or voice-over at all. This is not a happy type of movie. This film fills you with all kinds of feelings. Even so, many people certainly don’t understand the sign language. Actually, it’s not like that.

Slaboshpytskyi doesn’t show too much gimmick. He uses deaf actors as a whole. Their gestures and facial expressions are very pure. They understand how the character works. The movie doesn’t mean to make you understand what they are saying. But, it’s about how you try to interpret it in essence without the help of a single word.

“The Tribe” has an interesting element besides using a sign language. The cinematography is so fabulous. There is so many such beautiful single unbroken taken shot in a moment. The image through the camera seems steady. They intercept the characters without any constraints frames or questionable surpass jump cut. The neat movements of all the characters make it more unique. The directors are so smooth at this point. There is one minor character entering in one room to another. Two characters argue to the end and the other two characters come from the right direction from the outdoor. Yet, the camera then focuses again on these new character on-screen. This use of the movement was really inspired by Akira Kurosawa as well as the use of weather, wind, and environment.

This is a depressing movie. It’s about this person who is on the wrong path. He can’t fight in his place. He must take all the consequences in order to survive in school. However, he gave up and began to adapt. On the other hand, the environment changes him to different people. The well-execution ending is dark, creates a trace pattern. The movie is so flaw, makes you feel uncomfortable and feels alienated on your seat. So much, in addition to one take shot, silent scene. Yet, the movie has many memorable scenes. The abortion scene is one of them, also my favorite.

“The Tribe” is one of those movies but it has a different experience than any movies in general. This movie speaks without words because a work of art cannot explain it through words alone. The use of sign language is quite difficult to understand although I also try to interpret it as best I can. It’s not a heavy movie but also introduces you with a new culture and foundation. There is no mutual distinction.

4 out of 5 stars.

About the author