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Sign language underscores Miroslav Slaboshpitsky's acclaimed The Tribe


On November 18 a film unlike any other this decade arrives on Blu-ray and DVD. That film is The Tribe from Ukrainian director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky. Monster Pictures delivers the R rated multi-award winning international hit.

Set in a Ukrainian boarding school for the deaf, The Tribe locates new student Sergey, who is indoctrinated into a gang organised by elite students and corrupt teachers whose activities include robbery, extortion and prostitution. As Sergey rises up the ranks he falls for fellow student Anna and his decision to free her from the role as an escort triggers a sequence of diabolical events.

Told entirely in sign language, with no subtitles, voice-over or spoken dialogue, The Tribe delivers stunning visuals in hushed tones for a pure cinematic experience requiring total surrender by the viewer.

Slaboshpitsky has said in interviews that despite featuring the exchanges of hearing impaired people communicating the dramatization is for conventional ears. "It's not from the point of view of deaf people, for a start. It's from the point of view of people who can hear. We hear everything that happens, including a lot of background noise, but understand very little. In a way it's about a deaf mafia."

Winner of over 50 international awards and prizes including Critics Week Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Sutherland Award for Best First Film at the London International Film Festival, The Tribe which features Grigorily Fesenko as Sergey and Yana Novikova as Anna, boasts an outstanding 7.3 rating on IMDB. SBS Film describes the film as "so inventive and so unbendingly determined that it will be equally hard to erase from the mind."

"The Tribe is brutal, uncompromising and sometimes uncomfortable, but its near-silence, along with strong performances from a cast of unknowns, makes this hypnotic viewing," noted Broadsheet.

"From one mesmerizing scene to the next, The Tribe never loses its flow. Even its harshest moments are defined by vibrant motion," writes INDIEwire's Eric Kohn.