Teenage Sergey (Grigoriy Fesenko), a new student at the boarding school, realizes immediately that he must prove himself worthy to be brought under the protective wing of the school gang’s leader to survive unscathed. After an indoctrination of harmless initiation pranks and rites, Sergey’s new-found clique soon introduces him to their common activities of robbery, bribery and prostitution. At first assimilating seamlessly into his new role in the tribe, he finds himself compromised as he begins to fall in love with his female classmate—and one of the gang’s escorts—triggering a sequence of stunningly diabolical events. Winner of multiple 2014 Cannes Film Festival Awards (including Critics’ Week Grand Prix), Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe is an undeniably original and intense feature debut set in the insular world of a Ukrainian high school for the deaf. The Tribe unfolds through the non-verbal acting and sign language from a cast of deaf, non-professional actors—with no need for subtitles or voice over––resulting in a unique, never-before-experienced cinematic event that engages the audience on a new sensory level. We go on the road to sit down with Writer / Director Slaboshpytskiy and talk about the challenges and the rewards of working with a non-professional, deaf cast and the story behind The Tribe and a real-life deaf Russian mafia.
“Actions, emotions and desperate impulses speak far louder than words in “The Tribe” a formally audacious coup de cinema that marks a stunning writing-directing debut for Ukrainian filmmaker Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy.” – Justin Chang, Variety
“The use of sign language, deafness and silence itself adds several heady new ingredients to the base material, alchemically creating something rich, strange and very original.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
“Any expectations of conventional enjoyment must be checked at the door. Nevertheless, the film stands as a singular achievement.” – Joel Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“It toys with our pity, then it toys with our outrage, then it toys with our identification. Before we know it, we’ve been sucked into its wicked, all-too-human drama.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine / Vulture
“An utter astonishment” – Wesley Morris, Grantland