The Tribe (18)

Directed by Miroslav Slaboshpitsky
Picturehouse, Liverpool
15th May - 21st May 2015

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This film caused public controversy in Ukraine - I thought the people there had more important matters to concern themselves with one of their neighbours! - when it was not chosen as an Oscar entry for best foreign film. Crikey, they must create some awful films there if this is considered the best of the bunch..

All the actors are non-professional and at times it clearly looks the case.

It is set within a rundown state boarding school for deaf children based in Kiev. Vicious bullies rule the roost, which makes for depressing viewing.

The film does not incorporate dialogue, subtitles, or a musical score- the only communication being sign language.

The constant signing did not faze me at all all but the storyline was banal.

The almost complete absence of sounds at first lends The Tribe an eerie quality but that effect soon wears off.

The most annoying aspect was the repeating, four times, of a similar set piece, when two deaf prostitutes, accompanied by their deaf pimp, visited a park for trucks, where he knocked on the windows of various truckers enquiring via notes whether they wanted to have sex with the girls. The original pimp had been crushed by a reversing truck while he was smoking a cigarette, unaware of the movement of the vehicle

One critic commented that the girls had been coerced into doing the acts. They looked happy enough to me in what they were involved in. In fact they were both smiling each time they walked into the vehicle park.

The most notable scene is the enactment of a bizarre array of signing by hordes of people positioned on the outside of a derelict building, while watching a fight between boys from the boarding school. Very theatrical.

NERVE supports workers struggling for a living wage.

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