The Tribe is the story of Sergey; he's the new kid at a school for the deaf who is quickly initiated into the school's ruling gang, where he and his new pals run around mugging people, pimping young girls out to truck drivers, beating people, stealing, and having sex. Sergey ends up getting the hots for one of the girls he pimps out, Anya, and they end up "dating" each other.
That's really all there is to the plot. We're not trying to be dicks about it, but that's pretty much what it is. This movie is far more about the experience than it is any sort of narrative... although the overall narrative is pretty important to that experience... at least thematically. I don't know. It's a different kind of flick.
It was a different sort of experience for us, watching a movie in which no one spoke. We probably missed a lot of plot development, and even nuance, throughout this one because of the our lack of understanding, though to his credit, director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky crafted this movie in a simple, straight-forward sort of a way, which actually allowed us to follow along with everything far easier than we ever though we'd be able to. After the first few minutes, the fact that everyone on screen was signing, and that we had no idea what they were saying to each other, didn't even register anymore.
|THOSE ARE SOME PRETTY FUCKED-UP TOILETS.|
Worst of all though, was the especially horrific back-alley abortion scene that was so fucking horrific, that we couldn't watch most of it. The fact that during that scene, we finally heard Anya's voice as she cried out in pain, made it even more horrific. Yes, we just used the word horrific three times in two sentences. Trust us, it's warranted.
One, is that there really isn't any story to follow. The Tribe plays as more of a snapshot of the daily life of Sergey and a few of his troubled classmates, which is fine, but it doesn't really go anywhere. In that way, it reminded us a lot of the 1995 movie, Kids.
The second issue, which is made worse by the first one, is that none of the characters in the movie are very likable or sympathetic. Most of the kids, including Sergey, exist to do nothing other than beat, rob, rape, pimp ,whore themselves, and kill. We couldn't even feel all that much for Sergey, as he just shows up to the school, joins the gang, and starts doing some horrible shit like he was joining the football team or something. We did manage to feel some sympathy for Anya, in two especially fucked up scenes, but even she seemed to take the horrible things that they were all doing in stride, as if it was commonplace.
Then again, maybe that was the point of the whole thing.
|LIFE IS ROUGH IN UKRAINE.|
It won't be for everybody, and in fact, it may not even be for most people, but if you like experimental Arthouse movies that do something completely different from the norm, then it might just be for you.
The Tribe is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.
Yana Novikova is one brave, brave actress.