Populists on the home stretch: Europe and the EU are abolished. Decades after an unresolved catastrophe, everyone on the continent is doing what they want. The nation-states were replaced by tribes. Each tribe has its own culture, language and history: The German-speaking Origines live, as it should be for real Germans, close to nature in the forest, the Crimsons are nice fascists, the Crows rule the former Berlin, are brutal like annoyed doormen and look as if the catastrophe had caught her at the fetish evening in Berghain. Many of these tribes spend most of their post-apocalyptic time making life difficult for one another.
The German Netflix series Tribes of Europa is therefore a kind of thought through identity politics.
When a futuristic airplane crashes, the natural idyll of the Origines is suddenly disrupted and the forest siblings Liv, Kiano and Elja recover a mysterious cube from the wreck. Not a good idea, the three are separated and soon all the tribal warriors of Europe are against them. Kiano is used as a toy boy by the always bad-tempered Crows, Elja travels with Moses, a futuristic Papageno, through the pampas and has to endure a lot of jokes, because Oliver Masucci gives almost too much in the role.
The serious Liv meanwhile joins the military Crimson and like with the big role model Game of Thrones From then on, the narrative is divided into independent storylines, which, however, draw a large whole in broad brushstrokes.
And this whole thing works, although some dialogues are bumpy like the truck in which Moses and Elja are traveling, and although you can tell from some effects that everything could not be implemented as planned. But it speaks very much in favor of the basic idea that “Tribes” develops an insane pull that is not strongest when the series tries irony, but when it takes itself seriously. This is particularly due to Henriette Confurius, who plays Liv, and with such credibility that you would follow her anywhere as a viewer. Even in a futuristic, lost Europe.
You can tell in every scene that the series is a project close to the heart of the makers, above all the inventor, screenwriter and director Philip Koch. Everything is full of details and references, some of which are only revealed later. Star Wars, The Walking Dead, the Fallout-Computer games are quoted, the series celebrates the science fiction genre. Because the greatest merit of this ambitious project is the wake-up call for the German film industry to think outside the box, not to bring everything down to the lowest common denominator of public broadcasting, but to take risks. Tribes of Europa doesn’t do everything right, but the series dares to do something that German film often lacks: think big.
Tribes of Europa, six episodes, on Netflix