The Tribe: Cinema in Sign Language Without Subtitles or Voice


31 awards. This is the track record of the Ukrainian film The Tribe since its premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2014, where it won the critical award for best film. This is unusual for a film that is shot entirely in Sign Language and has no subtitles or voice.

Poster from Ukrainian The Tribe movie

It has also won the Best Film Award from the European Film Academy and many other awards for Best Film and Best Director in almost all the festivals in which it has been presented.
Considered as one of the most brutal, heartbreaking and special opera primas of the season, and probably, in years to come. (Luciaros, Blog de Cine)
The tribe is an original, cruel and impressive portrait of a society in crisis that will leave no one indifferent [...] and that allows us to be in a cinema in a way we had not been before (Elisa Hernández, Efe Eme)
The use of sign language, deafness and silence itself adds several heady new ingredients to the story's base material, alchemically creating something rich, strange and very original (Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
A film that doesn't need words to take the viewer's breath away. Direct and raw cinema like life (Fernando Bernal, Cinemanía)
What is most striking is not their sordidness, far from it. What impresses 'The Tribe' is its dazzling beauty, the mastery of its planes, its lack of sociological sensationalism, and the discovery that, more than bullying or violence on the margins of correction, what it is telling us is a wonderful story of adolescent love (Philipp Engel, Fotogramas)
These are some of the reviews the film has received in the specialised film press. Here is the trailer for the film:

All Performers at The Tribe Are Non-Professionals and Deaf

The film is director Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi's first feature film, after having made several shortfilms. The script is also original by Myroslav himself, who extracted the story of the film from his time as a television reporter, which gave him the opportunity to contact the Deaf Ukrainian community and based the film on real stories of the mafias who took advantage of the Deaf Ukrainian people. The director himself acknowledges that at the age of 11 he fought with other Deaf children from a school across the street, but is now fascinated by the complexity of sign language.

All the actresses and actors in the film are Deaf and use Ukrainian Sign Language. Director Myroslav knew absolutely nothing about Sign Language, so he had to rely on Sign Language interpreters throughout the shoot to be sure the performers were following the script.

Finally, two video interviews with Yana Novikova, one of the actresses (video in International Signs and English subtitles):


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