Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 7, No. 6, 2008
  Current Issue  
  Back Issues  
Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Diane Gordon
Robert Rotondo
Sylvain Richard
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Marcel Dubois
Emanuel Pordes
  Film Reviews
  Bowling for Columbine
Shanghai Ghetto
Talk to Her
City of God
Magdalene Sisters
Dirty Pretty Things
Barbarian Invasions
Fog of War
Blind Shaft
The Corporation
Station Agent
The Agronomist
Maria Full of Grace
Man Without a Past
In This World
Buffalo Boy
Shake Hands with the Devil
Born into Brothels
The Edukators
Big Sugar
A Long Walk
An Inconvenient Truth
Sisters In Law
Send a Bullet
Banking on Heaven
Chinese Botanist's Daugher
Ben X
La Zona
The Legacy
Irina Palm
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Poor Boys Game
Finn's Girl
Leaving the Fold

yavor gardev's

Yavor Gardev


reviewed by



Zift, which played at Montreal's 2008 Festival Nouveau Cinema, rated 3 out of 4 stars. For the rest of the festival ratings, click HERE.

No surprise that Yavor Gardev's debut film, Zift, snatched up six awards at this year's edition of the Golden Rose Festival in Varna -- Bulgaria's resort city equivalent of Nice, but with more Bulgarians. No surprise that Zift has been making big Black Sea waves in film festivals all over the world, most recently in Montreal. It's quite unlike anything you've seen before: a high-octane, mystery thriller that combines film noir, Jean Cocteau, Pulp Fiction, a runaway gas leak and match.

The story line, which at every frame fights to keep up with the film's madly inspired style, tells the story of Moth, who in the 1940s in Bulgaria is sentenced to a long prison term for a robbery he didn't commit. He is released during the 60s into the black hole of Communist totalitarianism whose tentacles are wrapped around every aspect of Bulgaria's interminably bleak quotidian. Moth dreams of leaving the country for sunnier climes but his plans are cut short when he is kidnapped by cronies from the past who are convinced he knows where he hid a huge diamond before he was imprisoned. The film follows his misadventures as he attempts to escape his pursuers. On the way, he gets involved with Ada, part temptress, solace, svelte night club singer with an agenda as mysterious as her diamond-edged dark eyes that melt everything in their path.

The sets of this film are worthy of museum pieces: all black ether and mirrors that are made to reveal the essential Bulgaria over a 25 year period, from its managed poverty to its darknesses at high noon under the big red machine from which there is no exit other than unconditional surrender.

The prison sets are especially made to match the explosive relationship between the system and subjugates, jailer and prisoner -- where all hope and striving have been sucked dry and perverted by circumstance forged and tempered in the crucible of state control. The prison walls, bearing silent witness to all manner of torture and taboo, seem to secrete viruses and malignancies, as if having taken their aspect from enforced encounters with the degraded human condition. Enhancing the entire effect of this at once disturbing and highly entertaining film is the resounding, hard-driving, granite-heavy sound track that alternately cracks like a whip and coerces like a dentist's drill.

If nothing else, Zift is proof that where budget is wanting, imagination can more than adequately supply the deficit. Novice director Yavor Gardev has incontestably put himself on every discerning critic's watch list with a film whose sometimes outrageous flash and daring will linger long after the final credits. Gardev seems to be in possession of extraordinary skills and imagination, and where restraint is occasionally in short supply, it is tempered by complete knowledge of subject matter -- that does not get lost in translation.

If you haven't already got the drift, check out Zift, for a paradigm shift that is Bulgaria's gift to world cinema.

For the ratings of all the 2008 Festival Nouveau Cinema films, click HERE.
 = shared webhosting, dedicated servers, development/consulting
Festival Nouveau Cinema de Montreal, Oct. 10-21st, (514) 844-2172
Montreal World Film Festival
Montreal Jazz Festival
CINEMANIA(Montreal) - festival de films francophone 1-11 novembre, Cinema Imperial info@514-878-0082: featuring Bernard Tavernier
Couleur JAZZ 91.9
E-Tango: Web Design and lowest rates for web hosting
Armand Vaillancourt: sculptor
Care + Net Computer Services
Available Ad Space
Valid HTML 4.01!
Privacy Statement Contact Info
Copyright 2002 Robert J. Lewis