It almost sounds like a punchline. A black man, an Arab, and a white man step onto a train. However, the underlying story in Nino’s Aldi’s comedic short Tribes is far from a joke. Directed by Aldi and written by Andy Marlatt, this ten minute film gives an introspective look at racial and socioeconomic divides in the country while cleverly pointing out the absurdities of prejudices.
Three criminals set out to mug a subway train. The three would-be muggers demand valuables from every person on the train. The plan goes awry when Jamar noticeably exempts a black woman and young man from the assault. When Amed asks why, Jamar responds with “I don’t want to jack my people.” This leads to a very open and honest discussion about identity and poses questions of where one belongs in society.
Pretty soon, the mugging is sidelined by bigger questions of identity, representation, and oppression. Tribes is simple in its staging. Taking place on a train, this minimalist setting serves as a metaphor for this broad discussion, which has now captivated the entire train car.
DeStorm Power, Adam Waheed, and Jake Hunter deliver strong performances. They are menacing and intimidating and share a great chemistry in their comedic timing.
Tribes bring up some heavy topics that can easily over encumber the film, especially after such a tumultuous year in American culture. However, it’s direct approach to these topics and blend of comedy engage and welcome the viewer. Funny and important, Tribes is a film that will make audiences think about who they are and who really holds power.
Watch Tribes below
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