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https://www.austinchronicle.com/screens/2009-03-20/756487/

SXSW Film

Daily Reviews and Interviews

By Marc Savlov, March 20, 2009, Screens

Zift

Narrative Feature, Midnighters
D: Javor Gardev; with Zachary Baharov, Tanya Ilieva, Vladimir Penev

A sexy Bulgarian film noir that sounds like Kafka translated by Damon Runyan and looks like the Coen Brothers by way of This Gun For Hire, Zift is nothing like what you'd expect to see coming out the ever-restless Balkans. There's no ethnic cleansing, for one thing, but there's plenty of the region's tradition of borderline nihilism, leavened with the blackest of comedy. Set in Fifties-era Sofia, Baharov plays Moth, a steely ex-con paroled into a country that has changed drastically since his incarceration following a botched diamond heist. Equal parts tragedy and comedy, Zift (the word refers to a foul, tarlike chewing gum) is one huge sticky situation, from the Bulgarian Communist coup to Moth's former partner in crime, who now wants to know where that damned diamond is. Moth's not talking, and neither are we.


Thursday, March 19, 12mid, Alamo Ritz

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