The Tribe

The Tribe is a brilliant formal achievement that marks Ukrainian writer-director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky as a filmmaker to watch. It takes place at a boarding school for deaf children, with all the roles played by deaf performers; the dialogue is entirely in Ukrainian sign language, and there are no subtitles or narration to translate the conversations for hearing viewers. (Even those schooled in American Sign Language will be baffled.) Slaboshpitsky uses ingenious strategies to draw the audience into the characters’ world while respecting fundamental differences between the deaf and the hearing. The film, his feature debut, is never less than tantalizing, bringing us close enough to the subjects to inspire fascination but not close enough to establish thorough understanding. For hearing viewers, Slaboshpitsky approximates the experience of being deaf, and in that regard the film is a valuable provocation. Continue reading >>