ⓘ The Tribe (2014 film)

The Tribe (2014 film)

ⓘ The Tribe (2014 film)

The Tribe is a 2014 Ukrainian drama film written and directed by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy. Starring Hryhoriy Fesenko, Yana Novikova and Roza Babiy, the film is set in a boarding school for deaf teenage students, where a novice scholar is drawn into an institutional system of organized crime, involving robbery and prostitution. He crosses a dangerous line when he falls for one of the girls to whom hes assigned to pimp. The film is entirely in Ukrainian Sign Language with no subtitles. It won the Nespresso Grand Prize, as well as the France 4 Visionary Award and the Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festivals International Critics Week section.

Harmata Film Production with the support of Hubert Bals Fund, Ukrainian State Film Agency, Rinat Akhmetov Foundation For Development of Ukraine co-financed the film.

The Tribe was widely admired and considered a contender for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. There was some controversy over the voting process after The Guide was nominated by Ukraine.


1. Plot

A teenage boy, Sergey, arrives at a boarding school for the deaf. There he tries to find his place in the hierarchy of the academic community, which operates like a Gang ruled by the King of the group. Their squad participates in acts of violence, robbery, sex and prostitution. When one of the boys who helps in pimping two girls from the school gets crushed by a truck, Sergey takes his place. Soon however, he falls in love with one of the girls, Anya, whom he impregnates. Sergey finds a purse on a train which he steals, giving the money to Anya for a makeshift abortion. Much later, Sergey follows one of the teachers home, knocks him unconscious, and robs him, giving the substantial sum to Anya and then raping her. Anya gets an abortion, and they set apart over time. One of the gangmasters prepare to send the two girls to Italy, but Sergey ruins Anyas passport and is eventually beaten by King and his gang. Sergey later retaliates by crushing their heads with their nightstands in their sleep.


2. Cast

List of cast members:

  • Tetiana Radchenko as the principal of boarding school for the deaf
  • Oleksandr Dsiadevych as Gera
  • Sasha Rusakov
  • Lenia Pisanenko
  • Kyrylo Koshyk
  • Hryhoriy Fesenko as Sergey
  • Ivan Tishko
  • Denys Hruba
  • Dania Bykobiy
  • Oleksandr Panivan as the Woodworking teacher
  • Yaroslav Biletskiy
  • Oleksandr Osadchyi as King
  • Yana Novikova as Anya
  • Liudmyla Rudenko
  • Maryna Panivan
  • Roza Babiy as Svetka
  • Oleksandr Sydelnykov

3. Release

The Tribe premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2014 in Cannes, France, where it opened in the oldest parallel section of the festival, International Critics Week, "blowing away" critics and audiences alike, before screening at the Locarno International Film Festival as a special screening for the Jury on 12 August, the Sarajevo Film Festival as the part of the Kinoscope section on 19 August, opening the Toronto International Film Festival on 9 September as part of the Discovery section, the London Film Festival on 15 October, and the Denver International Film Festival on 15 November 2014.


3.1. Release Theatrical run

Prior to The Tribe s Cannes International Critics Week selection, Paris-based Alpha Violet, picked up the film.

CEO of Alpha Violet Virginie Devesa, stated that it was an advantage having the piece before the films Cannes selection, due to it allowing the company to work with the producers on the trailer and other promotional materials, with her stating, "When we first watched the film, it was such as strong emotional shock’ that we wanted to share these emotions and hoped for The Tribe’ to be in Cannes."

On 26 May 2014, Alpha Violet was announced as handling the international sales of The Tribe, as well as speaking to potential buyers of the piece at the Cannes Film Festival, to which sales interest were spurred on by its critical reception. Jonathan Romney of The Guardian calling the piece "the great discovery of this years festival." Eric Kohn of IndieWIRE spoke of the film as "an unprecedented cinematic accomplishment." Wendy Ide of The Times gave it five stars adding, "It takes a film like the Ukrainian drama The Tribe’to neatly encapsulate the festival’s real raison d’etre: To discover and celebrate the most exciting, daring and outstanding films made around the world." Karel Och of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival described it as "the cinematic event of the year." Devesa stated that territories such as the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong are being sewn up and currently under negotiation, with her stating, "This is the first time Ive had this experience as a sales agent. I hope I live it again. The film is so radical, original, that you might have expected these results, but you never know." Later it was announced that UFO Distribution had acquired the rights to distribute the film within France, Atsuko Muratas Mimosa Films were confirmed to have acquired the Japanese distribution rights to The Tribe, Amstel Film picked up the distribution rights in the Netherlands and film rights in Denmark were confirmed to have been acquired by Ost For Paradis.

On 2 July 2014, Drafthouse Films acquired from Alpha Violet the distribution rights to The Tribe in the United States, with a planned 2015 theatrical release. Upon the acquisition, CEO of Drafthouse Films Tim League spoke highly of the piece and showered it with praise stating that he was witnessing "something truly special". Additionally he added, "Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy is a massive talent. I am confident that he will quickly become a world-renowned director, and I am excited and proud to be sharing his striking first feature with North America." At the news of the acquisition director Slaboshpytskiy stated, "I am very glad that my film will be released in the United States. I have always believed in the universality of film’s language, and have always believed that dialogue and subtitles change the way different audiences perceive the film in different countries." On 6 July 2014, it was confirmed that MCF MegaCom had bought the distribution right to ex-Yugoslavia territories, Art Fest had obtained the film rights to Bulgaria, and Film Europe Media Co had acquired the distribution rights to Czech Republic and Slovakia. The announcement that Bio Paradis had also acquired the right in Iceland marked the first time Alpha Violet has ever sold to the Icelandic territory directly. Alpha Violet was confirmed to be in negotiations for the United Kingdom, Scandinavian and Latin American territories to be collected.

On 28 October 2014, Metrodome Group had announced that it had picked up the United Kingdom rights for Slaboshpytskiy’s film, with a planned 2015 release date. Giles Edwards, Head of Acquisitions at Metrodome, commented upon the acquisition, "Audacious, uncompromising and formally breathtaking, Miroslav Shlaboshpytskiy’s shattering masterpiece takes the chilling saturnalia of the feral crime film and transposes it into an unnerving, singularly unforgettable landscape.", himself concluding, "It heralds the arrival of the most astonishing new filmmaking talent in years."


3.2. Release Home media

Drafthouse Films has announced for plans to release The Tribe in select theatres across North America in 2015, as well as additionally on a variety of VOD platforms and digital, DVD, and Blu-ray formats. Additionally it was announced that the deal was negotiated by Alpha Violets Virginie Devesa and Keiko Funato, and Drafthouse Filmss James Emanuel Shapiro and Tim League.


4. Reception

The Tribe received widespread critical acclaim by critics, audiences and at festivals all over the world. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 86% of critics gave the film a "Certified Fresh" rating, based on 92 reviews with an average score of 7.5/10, with the consensus "A bleak, haunting drama whose wordless dialogue speaks volumes, The Tribe is a bold, innovative take on silent films for a contemporary audience." Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 78 out of 100 based on 27 reviews from mainstream critics, considered to be "generally favorable."

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian scored the piece four out of five stars, writing, "I cant stop thinking about it." while too praising Slaboshpytskiys ability to this is a movie that will and should be used in cinema schools as a master class in how film is a visual medium."

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