You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


Taking the viewer deep inside a Manila slum blighted by drugs and gang violence, "Tribe" is a disturbing snapshot of a community in chaos.

With: Karl Eigger Balingit, O.G. Sacred, Shielbert Manuel, Lloyd Labastida, (Tagalog dialogue)

Taking the viewer deep inside a Manila slum blighted by drugs and gang violence, “Tribe” is a disturbing snapshot of a community in chaos. Drawing instant comparison to the much slicker and more broadly scoped “City of God,” helmer Jim Libiran’s debut feature has the raw power to make its own distinct mark. Winner of the top prize at Cinemalaya, ultra-realistic pic should have a lengthy fest life and could interest specialized broadcasters. In lieu of formal domestic distribution, Libiran plans to take the film on the road himself.

Frantic opening posits 10-year-old Ebet (Kal Eigger Balingit) as voiceover narrator and observer of life in the notorious Tondo slum, a place where parents regularly outlive their children. As he puts it, “Most people here are bums, and they’re bums because they’re poor.” First seen watching a frenzied street march honoring the district’s patron saint, the boy keeps company with the Thugz Angels gang and casually witnesses their everyday drug use and brutal initiation rituals.

Storyline follows a straightforward path as the Thugz Angels are mistakenly blamed for the murder of a rival, and leader Makoy (O.G. Sacred) musters forces for all-out warfare. En route to the fiery finale, auds bear witness to an unrelenting depiction of how the grinding cycle of poverty and severely dysfunctional family life draws children into crime.

Hard to forget are images of a betrayed wife attacking her husband with a knife in public and kids not much older than Ebet wandering the streets with guns. Cast with real members of half a dozen local gangs, pic is utterly and tragically convincing.

Powered by hip-hop made up on the spot — too much for non-fans of the musical form — the film moves swiftly to a conclusion that will perhaps disappoint those insisting on optimistic outcomes, but one that is entirely appropriate and consistent with what’s come before.

Lensed largely at night with available light sources, pic’s visuals are crisp and sound quality is crystal-clear in challenging locations. Rest of tech work is solid.



Production: An 8 Glasses Prods., Cinemalaya production. (International sales: 8 Glasses, Cubao Quezon City, Philippines.) Produced by Jim Libiran. Executive producers, Libiran, Mitchelle Moreno, Diomedes Dillague, Gene Cajayon. Directed, written by Jim Libiran.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Albert Banzon; editor, Lawrence S. Ang; music, Francis De Veyra; production designer, Armi Cacanindin; sound (stereo), Mark Laccay; assistant director, Rayg Generoso. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (New Currents -- competing), Oct. 5, 2007. (Also in Cinemalaya Film Festival.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Karl Eigger Balingit, O.G. Sacred, Shielbert Manuel, Lloyd Labastida, (Tagalog dialogue)

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'A Star Is Born,' 'Vice' Lead 2018 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Nominees

    The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) announced their nominees for the 8th annual AACTA International Awards on Tuesday. “A Star Is Born” and “Vice” lead the pack, with five and four nominations respectively. The two leading films compete with “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Roma” for best film, while Nicole Kidman becomes the [...]

  • China's Government Orders Talent Home to

    After Golden Horse Awards Embarrassment, China Orders Talent Home for Huabiao Ceremony

    China’s government quietly ordered top Chinese talent back to the mainland from abroad this past weekend to attend a Beijing ceremony for its highest film industry honors, the loosely bi-annual Huabiao Awards. The move came just weeks after it directed mainland film executives and talent to snub after-parties and return home as quickly as possible [...]

  • Fotosintesis Readies Mexico-U.S. Immigration Animated Feature

    Fotosintesis Readies Immigration Animated Feature ‘Beast’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Mexico City-based Fotosintesis Media, a joint initiative of Mexico’s Mantarraya Group and writer-director Miguel Angel Uriegas, is moving into pre-production this January on “Beast,” the third Mexican animated feature from the cause-driven entertainment label. News of the move comes as Uriegas presents at Ventana Sur’s Animation! forum 15 minutes of work in [...]

  • Scott Derrickson

    'Doctor Strange' Director Scott Derrickson to Return for Sequel

    “Doctor Strange” director Scott Derrickson has signed up for Disney-Marvel’s sequel. The studio, which had no comment, is about to start searching for a writer. Derrickson co-wrote the 2016 original with C. Robert Cargill and Jon Spaihts. Benedict Cumberbatch is expected to reprise his role as Stephen Strange, along with co-stars Benedict Wong and Rachel McAdams. [...]

  • Roma

    'Roma' Keeps Adding Theaters in Mexico

    “Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron’s deeply personal coming-of-age drama, is also a love letter to Mexico City. The sprawling metropolis — its cobblestoned streets, fading movie palaces, and lush parks — is practically a central character in the story of a family grappling with love and loss. Perhaps that’s the reason that “Roma” has been passionately embraced [...]

  • The Favourite

    Breaking Down 'The Favourite's' Insane, Royal Dance Battle (Watch)

    We’ll go out on a limb and say no scene in this year’s crop of awards films was more WTF? than the absurd and delightful royal dance moment in “The Favourite.” Debuting early on in Yorgos Lanthimos’ female love-triangle drama, the dance serves as wonderful reminder that, even when dressed like Merchant Ivory and full [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

    Reviews of DC’s “Aquaman” vary between feelings of surprise and disappointment. Some critics are applauding director James Wan’s strong re-imagining of a previously stale character, while others are harping on DC’s inability to stack up against rival Marvel — but most are just relieved the film isn’t an all-out flop. There are virtually no qualms about [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content