I can honestly say that this is the first Bulgarian film I have ever seen. I’ve seen films from Italy, Greece, France, Australian, Japan, China, but Bulgaria never really was a country I considered as a hub of cinema. Until Zift.
Zift is a dark, brooding, emotional roller coaster that combines elements of vengeance, mystery, and film noir to create an atmospheric world where danger and death lurk around every corner.
After being released from prison after 20 years, Moth (Zahary Baharov) tries to reassemble the shattered ruins of his life within the confines of a dilapidated Communist city. You see, Moth’s a bit upset because he was framed for a murder he didn’t commit. What’s a tall, bald, ex-con with whimsical tattoos (and you’ll know what I mean by this) to do?
Moth navigates a world filled with villainous characters. Some want him dead, others just want to mess with him. But his goal of creating a new life and finding a way to survive on the outside make this is a character study in human resilience, perseverance, and good old-fashioned revenge.
Moth is an intriguing and entertaining character to watch. His dark journey becomes out own as we follow him through the trials and tribulations as he struggles to cope with the outside world. His interactions with others and his inner-monologue contain both humor, philosophical insight, and despair.
Zift is beautifully shot in black and white, which adds to the tone and overall sense of moodiness of the piece. It definitely helps to throw us into the spirit of film noir as well. Three things viewers should know: it’s a period piece; it’s subtitled; it contains nudity and graphic images. And it’s a wonderful film. Hats off to writer Vladislov Godorov and director Javor Gardev for bringing this world to life.
Zift delivers great performances and a quality film experience that will make you curious about Bulgarian cinema. I certainly am interested in learning more about this country’s film history and what other works they have to offer.
Zift is available NOW on DVD.