Thursday, 16 October 2014


To see is to know, but to feel is to understand. Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy's masterful exploration of different forms of communication, The Tribe, is, for once, a truly original piece of cinema. Its candour, spilling over into vicious brutality, utterly dissolves the potential bewilderment, and Slaboshpytskiy demonstrates an extraordinary comprehension of the visual language of film, more than compensating for what his film lacks in verbal dialogue. With meticulous mise-en-scene, he expresses sublime silence and noise via almost purely visual means, the leanness of his technique directing the attention toward the most pertinent elements within each frame. Articulating a primal essence in his fixation on the physical, the language he discovers, devises and enhances bears formidable power. The long tracking shots he employs create new spaces and perspectives within larger environments, acting as an invitation to interpret Slaboshpytskiy's images both as they appear within the action and outside of it - our role is as outsider and observer, an objective participant as the film's male lead gradually regresses from this role. Watching, as we do, often from behind barriers, we begin to know what it feels like to be deprived of a supposedly essential sense; it's as the characters' experiences increase in intensity, as cracks appear in codes of behaviour, that both they and we begin to feel. Slaboshpytskiy de-sensationalises the dramatic events that ensue by filming them in their entirety, his camera unflinching, their reality accented - he thereby actually strengthens them, affords them greater effect. As The Tribe's narrative specificity narrows, like the long canals of space prevalent throughout the film, its allegorical power expands. A riveting and shocking film, The Tribe succeeds as both an essay on the nature of societies' attitude toward the individual, and as a terrific personal, human drama.