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TIFF movie review: The Color of the Chameleon

A scene from The Color of the Chameleon.

3 out of 4 stars

Title
The Color of the Chameleon
Directed by
Emil Christov
Country
Bulgaria
Language
Bulgarian

In the waning years of Communism in Bulgaria, the sad-eyed cipher Batko Stamenoz (Ruscen Vidinliev) is recruited by the secret police to spy on a subversive student group obsessively deconstructing a forbidden novel called Zincograph. When he's summarily dumped by the state spooks, the lifelong nobody finally gets his big chance to become a somebody, as he uses his well-learned wiles in the way of interrogation and counterespionage to create a genuine subversive threat out of entirely bogus fiction. (And possibly hasten the decline of the regime.) A black, absurdist riff on the dank literary labyrinths of Kafka, Le Carré and Don DeLillo, by way of the cinematic influence of David Lynch and Bernardo Bertolucci, Emil Christov's first movie is about how to succeed in politics without really existing.

Sept. 10, 9:30 p.m., Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 5; Sept. 16, 9:45 a.m., Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 5.

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