Jamie Neish: Tribe goes back to time before talkies

Ukranian film director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy. Pic: Comp
Ukranian film director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy. Pic: Comp
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LAST year at the Cannes Film Festival, Ukranian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy unveiled his new feature The Tribe, which went on to dazzle audiences and win the Critics Week Grand Prize.

Almost a year to the day that film, which features no dialogue or sign language whatsoever, opens in selected cinemas across the UK. It’s easily one of the best films of the year so far.

Set in a decrepit boarding school for deaf teens, The Tribe unravels at a measured pace as new student Sergey (Grigoriy Fesenko) integrates into his new surroundings, slowly but surely rising through the ranks.

It’s a bleak, bold and often uncomfortable watch that demands instant and deep investment from the viewer.

Sergey is at first insular, but as he comes to understand that the only route to survival is through crime, prostitution and drugs, he applies himself as best as he can.

There’s little hope for these characters, something that Slaboshpytskiy, pictured, is keen to emphasise. The teachers at the school stay out of the picture and the parents are far removed from their lives.

Ukraine, too, is depicted as a ravaged place. The actors, none of whom have prior experience, add to the realism, many participate in devastating, hard-hitting, hard-to-watch scenes.

The Tribe is a relentlessly harsh film captured through measured, crisp cinematography.

That it features no dialogue or subtitles isn’t problematic at all, it’s simply a way of life that’s seldom seen on the big screen.

But if that doesn’t sound like the film for you, then Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2 and Clouds of Sils Maria are also out this weekend and also very good.

For more film news and reviews visit www.emptyscreens.com