Dialogue at it’s worst, when it sounds like it was written by an intoxicated 11-year old boy, can break a film. Conversely, when done well, it can elevate a scene or character to iconic status with never ending quotability. But what happens when you have no dialogue? Can you still properly convey feelings, intentions or even plot with no words at all?
That’s exactly what The Tribe is trying to do. Well, to be more accurate, based on the insane amount of high praise it received out of Cannes earlier in the year, that’s exactly what it did. Ukranian director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky’s brave film is set in a rundown but sexed up boarding house for deaf kids, who all communicate with sign language instead of spoken words. But – and here’s where the “brave” part comes in – the movie has no subtitles for their “dialogue”, instead relying on these deaf actors’ performances alone to convey everything to an audience that now needs to do some narrative heavy lifting of their own to piece it all together.
This is most definitely not going to be a film for everyone – the rampant sexuality will probably already turn some away – but by all accounts, viewers will experience a challenging but very unique and very powerful film that proves that sometimes actions do speak louder than words.
The Tribe stars Grigory Fesenko, Yana Novikova, Alexander Osadchi, Alexander Panivan and Rosa Babiy. There is no scheduled release date yet, but the movie will have limited theatrical and VOD release soon.
Last Updated: July 4, 2014