Directed by: Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi
Starring: Grygoriy Fesenko (New student), Yana Novikova (Blonde girl), Roza Babiy (Brunette girl), Olexandr Osadchyi (Leader)
Country: Ukraine; Effed Up Soviet Movies
Language: Ukrainian Sign Language
Genres: Human Trafficking-Prostitution, Teen, Gruesome
Plot – Spoilers:
A new student arrives at a boarding school for the deaf and is quickly initiated into the tribal gang that runs things there. Their activities include using the smaller boys to sell soft toys on trains, but primarily they pimp a couple of the senior girls out or mug older folk. All aided by their woodwork teacher.
The newbie does everything to fit in by not resisting and even proving himself in a hazing fight. But he often gets left out (no beer for you – mugging scene) and sometimes is even treated like a contemptible noob (first time out pimping the girls).
In the end, it’s a tribe that claims to think about the collective rather than the individual. A tribe that quickly moves on from the shocking death of one of its members. And finally, a tribe that in practice, actually follows the diktats of its leader who’s basically looking out for himself.
While the movie is silent in its use of voice or music and is slow-paced, it’s shrill and quick during its moments of brutality, one of which you might feel in your genital areas. It’s also a credit to the director, narration and the actors that even though you might not have a clue about Ukrainian sign language, you’ll get most of it, probably even better than you would a foreign-language movie without subs. The lack of subtitles also helps brutally move the world of the deaf further away from those that can hear.
Personally speaking, The Tribe was a gentle reminder that however tribal we might still be, living in a tribe doesn’t seem like something to yearn for.