Zift / Дзифт (Bulgaria, 2008)

directed by Yavor Gardev, black comedy, 92 min, eng subtitles
written by Vladislav Todorov
with Zachary Baharov, Tanya Ilieva, Vladimir Penev

Perhaps the only thing worse than entering a pre-communist Bulgarian prison to serve a long sentence for a murder you didn't commit is being released in the 1960s, when the totalitarian regime is firmly in place. But when this happens to Moth, the main character in Zift, he learns the lesson the hard way - even though his cellmate and mentor, Van Wurst the Eye, knows better and tries to open Moth's eyes before hanging himself just prior to his own release. Eventually, Moth leaves prison to enter a society gone haywire, encountering a painful lack of freedom that quashes his plan to head to the tropics. Lies, deceit, torture, poison - they all conspire in a layered narrative to provide a queasy form of entertainment.

Director Yavor Gardev's debut film, based on Vladislav Todorov's novel by the same name, is quite unlike anything you've seen before: a mystery thriller that combines neo-noir, sots art, Jean Cocteau and Pulp Fiction, a twisted love story and a hazy morality tale. It takes you right to the heart of its black and sticky world of endless yarns glued together by zift or ‘asphalt', ‘black pitch' or ‘shit'!

Bulgaria's 2009 Academy Awards official submission to Foreign-Language Film category
Sofia IFF 2009 (Best Bulgarian Feature Film)
goEast Wiesbaden 2009 (Special Mention)
Moscow IFF 2008 (Silver St. George and Russian Film Clubs Federation Award)