Janizca Bravo's Zola
7 July 2021
We think Janizca Bravo's exploration of an infamous viral tweet is the absolute must-see indie film of the summer!
Zola (newcomer Taylour Paige), a Detroit waitress, strikes up a new friendship with a customer, Stefani (Riley Keough), who seduces her to join a weekend of dancing and partying in Florida. What at first seems like a glamorous trip full of “hoeism” rapidly transforms into a 48-hour journey involving a nameless pimp, an idiot boyfriend, some Tampa gangsters and other unexpected adventures in this wild, see-it-to-believe-it tale.
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Bravo, abetted by a cast that couldn’t be more game, turns a classic case of “These white people will be the death of me” — a familiar idea among the rest of us, I think — into a dazzling, once-every-blue-moon experiment in how to tell an utterly modern, utterly mediated, confusing, offbeat story. She gives us a lesson in how to attract and repulse, fascinate and alienate, entertain and frustrate in all the ways that the story this wild naturally demands. It’s the kind of intelligent attitude toward trash — with one foot in and the other out, looking cynically back on it all — that a movie like NATURAL BORN KILLERS famously strained for. ZOLA is better. It strains less. And it says far more. - Rolling Stone