The Tribe, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s feature film debut (expanded from his 2010 short “Deafness”), contains no spoken dialogue, but it has a lot to say. A lot of people have erroneously likened The Tribe to the silent films of yesterday, but Slaboshpytskiy uses sound effects at vital moments. Instead of a through-score to guide our emotions, a la The Artist, it wades in disquieting silence occasionally lacerated by sudden sounds.
As the new trailer shows, the film has a singular visual style; Slaboshpytskiy has to tell a story without any aural conversation, and he uses a bleak palette to depict the morally nebulous world of an insular Ukrainian high school for the deaf. (And DP Valentyn Vasyanovych shot on 35mm, hooray.) With its grayscale scheme and vast empty halls, panes of glass through which the students can see but from which they can never escape, the school resembles a sort of penal colony.
The film has garnered some glowing raves as well as hostile pans. (Mostly the former, but the latter are fervid.) Slaboshpytskiy apparently sustains a wicked-mean tone throughout, to the chagrin of some, and the trailer does nothing to assuage those claims. Grigoriy Fesenko plays Sergey, the new kid at this hellish school. He has to assimilate into the clastic, clique-controlled community, run by vicious bullies, if he wants to survive. He falls in love with a female student, which the official synopsis says brings about “diabolical” effects.
The trail of the tape
Title: The Tribe
Director: Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy
Screenwriter: Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy
Cast: Grigoriy Fesenko, Yana Novikova, Rosa Babiy, Alexander Dsiadevich
Release date: June 17, 2015
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: …
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
After playing myriad festivals (Sundance, Toronto, AFI, London, and last year’s Cannes, where it nabbed the prestigious Critics’ Wekk Grand Prix), The Tribe finally comes to rep theaters June 17. It will be released by Drafthouse.