Obscurantism; noun: The practice of being deliberately obscure or vague. If that represents a new genre in art cinema, then Ukrainian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy may be its leading proponent. His film “The Tribe,” which garnered some attention at Cannes last year, features deaf actors communicating in sign language — but without any subtitles to let the viewer in on their dialogue.
The film’s story is so bare-bones simple that you can more or less follow it anyway. A teen named Sergey (Grigoriy Fesenko) enters a boarding school for the deaf, where he is immediately initiated into a dog-eat-dog world of vicious bullying, robbery, extortion and prostitution involving his female classmates. Predictably, he falls for one the working girls, Anna (Yana Novikova), but whatever the attraction is between them other than the physical, the film fails to communicate.