‘Tribes of Europe’: an intense and violent post-apocalyptic proposal from the creators of ‘Dark’ arrives on Netflix
Some harmless mysticism, a hint of mild post-apocalypse with youthful prominence style ‘The 100‘, explosions of violence and action that could not be seen in an American series and a good work of atmosphere are the elements that come together in ‘Tribes of Europe’, a German series by the producers of ‘Dark‘, but more oriented to adventure and with a more linear plot. The result works like clockwork, and these six episodes efficiently pose the adventure and pass in a breath.
‘Tribes de Europa’ takes us to a future in which societies as we knew them have broken down, technology has disappeared for almost everyone and humanity has reorganized itself into dozens of tribes pitted against each other. Almost all participate in this conflict except one, a pacifist and in communion with nature, and to which the trio of protagonist brothers belongs. Unfortunately, they will have to get involved in the war when a stranger lands in the woods where they live with a cube that all factions long to possess.
‘Tribus de Europa’ does not hide its references: apart from the aforementioned ‘The 100’, there is something of ‘The Hunger Games’ in the portrayal and aesthetics of the poor districts, and in competitions to the death for the amusement of a few. Similarities can be traced with ‘Game of Thrones’ and the story of the separated brothers, although obviously the epic here is much less. And with ‘See‘, the luxurious and misunderstood series of apocalyptic blindness with Jason Momoa. Fortunately, despite the hodgepodge, ‘Tribes of Europe’ quickly finds its own identity. As a detail for fans of ‘Dark’, there is a very slight connection through Oliver Masucci, who played Nielsen in that one, although it is more a wink than an authentic intention to create a shared universe.
It has been said that ‘Tribes of Europe’ is inspired by Brexit, and that its creator, Philip Koch, came up with its starting point the day after the referendum. The truth is that the series is not particularly discursive, and strives to raise different points of view about cultural and political assimilation, possibilities for some tribes to embrace others, and how the desire to belong to a collective is understandable and desirable , but it also carries its toll. The series is ambiguous in terms of its message, although, despite its violence, it is more optimistic than bleak, and above all it defends the protection of the identity of nations.
A future Europe in conflict
‘Tribes of Europe’ works because it pays attention to what matters, perhaps due to the urgency with which he has to narrate a journey of separation and reunion in six episodes. There are hardly any filler sequences, and they all add something to the characters or the background of the story, with details about the past or about the Europe that we do not see (which is not exactly “Europe, the continent”). Before series artificially stretched up to ten episodes for who knows what superfluous needs in times of streaming, ‘Tribes de Europa’ goes to the point, and in the first episode we know the protagonists, their situation, the world and the conflicts that trigger the rest of the series.
And still, the development of the story allows itself a few surprises along the way. For example, the curious relationship between Elija and the characters who help him with the Atlantean cube, infinitely less burdensome than it promises at the beginning, precisely due to the series’ ability to avoid the filling. Or the relationship that is established between one of the protagonists (paradoxically, the least attractive) and one of the darkest nemesis of the series, more sinister and perverse than expected.
The best of ‘Tribes de Europa’ arrives when he embraces the recycling material he starts from, and puts the accent on wacky characters and mindless villains. Everything about the Ravens, the tribe of wicked (who have their surprising nuances) that everyone fears, is especially fun. Especially with regard to their clothing as cenobites of the apocalypse and their leader, Varvara (Melike Foroutan), who connects both with the Rhoma Mitra from ‘Doomsday’ (another reference) and with classics of the European B series of which in Germany they know a lot, like the movies of ‘Ilsa, the wolf of the SS’.
The result is surprising, and poses with great fortune something in which other series more focused on setting up a churrería than on telling good stories limp: describes a world of which only notes are given for the viewer’s head to fill in the gaps, and which may or may not be explored in the future. Until that time comes, for now we have six explosive and irreproachable episodes. It lacks the complexity and ambition of ‘Dark’, but the proposal works amply.