Zift is a film from Bulgaria, made in 2008. It is filmed in black and white and takes place in the 1940’s and 1960’s.Vladislav Todorov wrote both the book in which the movie is based as well as the script. Javor Gardev directed and it looks to be his only film to date.
Zift is a great combination of modern neo noir with nods to movies like Pulp Fiction as well as classic noir style with nods to films like Gilda. There are plot points which remind me of D.O.A. and Shawshank Redemption as well as scenes which reminded me of Sin City and the bar scene is an obvious nod to Gilda, but reminded me of a number of other classic noirs. So is this just a rehash of great noir films of the past? Yes and no, it is, but it adds a lot of originality as well.
The story starts with our hero in prison for a murder he did not commit. Zahary Baharov plays our hero and has appeared in a few American productions. We use flashbacks to tell his story of how he got in prison and some of his adventures while in prison. The main story takes place over one day, the day he gets out of prison for good behavior. He is meet at the gate by two men who give him a ride. Along the way we meet our hero’s first love, a classic femme fatale in every sense, played by Tanya Ilieva. She starts out as his sweetheart in school, after prison she is singing in a night club and far more jaded about life. We also come across an old partner named Slug.
This story is really dark and puts a lot of grim noir scenarios in an hour and a half. There are also some comedic moments, most of them I did not find funny, maybe it was lost in translation. Overall an enjoyable neo noir film. I didn’t know a bunch about this one but glad I was able to see it. This is going to be for foreign noir fans and people who enjoy avant-garde foreign films.