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Di­rected by My­roslav Sla­bosh­pyt­skiy. Star­ring Grig­oriy Fe­senko, Yana Novikova, Rosa Babiy, Alexander Dsi­ade­vich, Yaroslav Bilet­skiy, Club, IFI; The Light House, Dublin, 130 min

We hear a lot of blather about pure cinema: some­times around this parish. Ev­ery now and then some­body sug­gests a direc­tor may have re-in­vented the medium. Push the idle chat­ter from your mind. My­roslav Sla­bosh­pyt­skiy’s stunning Ukrainian film re­ally does live up to such vaunt­ing prom­ises. Like the best ad­ven­tures in for­mal ex­per­i­ment – think Alek­sandr Sokurov’s one-shot Rus­sian Ark or Chris Marker’s un­mov­ing La Jetée – The Tribe sets it­self a chal­lenge and al­lows the re­sult­ing lim­i­ta­tions to en­hance the cre­ative ex­pe­ri­ence.

Cast largely with non-pro­fes­sional ac­tors, Sla­bosh­pyt­skiy’s film brings us among the stu­dents at a run-down school for the deaf in Ukraine.

This is the old story of the ini­tially ner­vous in­ductee who even­tu­ally be­comes mas­ter of a hith­erto hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment. Sergey (Grig­oriy Fe­senko) dis­cov­ers that his class­mates are run­ning a crime ring that, among other ac­tiv­i­ties, in­volves sell­ing their fe­male class­mates’ bod­ies to lorry driv­ers. Fol­low­ing a few ini­ti­a­tion rites, Sergey finds him­self car­ry­ing out low-level tasks. His de­vel­op­ing re­la­tion­ship with Anna (Yana Novikova) – con­sum­mated ex­plic­itly in damp, chilly en­vi­ron­ments – soon trig­gers

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