• James Rutherford

‘The Tribe’: A Shocking and Groundbreaking Ukrainian Drama Without Words

Movie poster for the Ukrainian film The Tribe starring Grygoriy Fesenko

“The Tribe” (2014) aka "Plemya" is a stunning, one-of-a-kind film from Ukraine about a new student to a school for the deaf who is recruited into a ruthless gang of male students that lords over the campus like a mafia-style brotherhood.

Grygoriy Fesenko plays the lead, Serihy, as a game and agreeable teen content to fit in with his newfound comrades, even as he is engaged in violent initiation activities and charged with pimping his female classmates out at local truck stops. The turning point for Serihy comes when he develops emotions for one of the girls he is charged with, setting off a cascading series of events that lead to a climax so jarring and unexpected it will leave you breathless. Immersive and unnerving every step of the way—a film you will not soon forget.

Special note: Since all of the characters in the film are deaf, there is no verbal dialogue spoken throughout, and even more notably, no subtitles are provided either. This conceit serves as a test of the viewer's ability to intuit the gestures and cues of the actors and deduce the generally universal matters at hand. Don’t let this dissuade you though—it works surprisingly well, it’s one hell of an experience, and it’s definitely worth the challenge.

 

View the trailer: