FILM screens gripping, unreleased 'The Tribe'
Ukrainian filmmaker Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy's debut feature calls for a strong stomach and an open mind.
As an expressive medium, film is unusually well-equipped to translate body language and to introduce us to unfamiliar worlds. In Ukrainian filmmaker Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy's debut feature The Tribe, both impulses are pushed to unique extremes. Set in a boarding school for deaf teenagers, the film contains no spoken dialogue at all – and no subtitles accompany the considerable use of sign language.
This doesn't make it a silent movie per se – there's plenty of ephemeral noise to supplement the action. But the central narrative, in which a young man named Sergey is initiated into a rough gang of student criminals, occurs without an audible word. Expect some graphic content in this one, as the main character endures brutal hazing rituals, finds employment as a pimp, and eventually begins a graphic love affair with one of the prostitutes.
Formally, The Tribe might call to mind the mechanics of early cinema. In content, it's closer to teen dystopias like Lindsay Anderson's If… or Larry Clark's Kids. If those don't ring a bell, a more familiar point of reference might be Lord of the Flies, where a lack of adult supervision leads to authoritarian chest-thumping.
The Tribe might not be the most diplomatic choice for your Wednesday evening, but it will stick to your ribs when you wake up the next morning. Come to it with a strong stomach and an open mind.
7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12 // FILM at the Erie Art Museum, 20 E. Fifth St. // facebook.com/FILMErieArtMuseum