Zift – Movie Review
“Zift” is a genre mixture of neo-noir and sots-art. The story unfolds in one night. The main character, Moth is freed on parole after spending time in prison on wrongful conviction of murder. He was thrown in jail shortly before the Bulgarian communist coup of 1944, and now finds himself in a new and alien world – the totalitarian Sofia of the 60s. All hell breaks loose as soon as he walks out of jail. Moth tricks the bloodhounds of the communist state. His first night of freedom the main character spends in a breathtaking chase with time, trying to avoid fate, as he gets closer and closer to his ultimate demise. His frantic flight draws the map of a diabolical totalitarian city – decaying neighborhoods and gloomy streets, the bathhouse, the city canal, the hospital, the cathedral, the pompous works of communist architecture centered around the Mausoleum, smoky joints, bars, and finally — the graveyard. In the pursuit of truth, Moth runs into a bizarre parade of characters – agents, medics, barflies, outcasts, gravediggers and other species of the asphalt jungle. The action thickens through avalanching variety of twists and turns, sudden revelations, flashbacks, lies laid bare, hallucinations, and sensual encounters with the former love. Finally, the story ends inside the gravediggers’ trailer where the secrets are revealed.
Zift is a Bulgarian shaggy dog story, and I can probably tell you everything you need to know about the movie once you understand that the word Zift is both a chewing gum, some kind of mortar, but also is a slang term that means poop. What can I tell you? This is shot in black and white; it was actually Bulgaria’s official 2009 Oscar entry, and if you can tolerate a little bit of irony, it’s a very interesting story about love, death, torture, gangsters, honor, very violent, but it – believe it or not, a look at the Bulgarian mentality or at least a very entertaining off-beat movie.