Critics’ award for deaf-mute gang film at Cannes

A memorable film that only uses deaf-mute actors and is filmed entirely in sign language, without subtitles or translationsThe Tribe (Plemya), was the top prize winner at Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival. Directed by Ukrainian filmmaker Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, it tells the story of Sergey, a teenager, who is starting life at a special school for the deaf. His difficult journey of integration is dominated by harsh gang laws, which include prostitution and violence. But his involvement in several robberies helps Sergey to reach the top of the organisation, until an encounter leads him to unwittingly break the unwritten code of group. The director made a clear choice to make a silent film and to use a cast of unknown deaf actors ‘off the street’. He explains that he wanted to paint his subject realistically and pay homage to an under-represented type of communication, although, says Slaboshpytskiy, subjects such as love and hate don’t need translation.




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