Janicza Bravo’s “Zola” (Review)

In “‘Zola’: A24 Gives Janicza Bravo’s Wild Indie the Insane Trailer It Deserves — Watch,” Zack Sharf (IndieWire) writes, “After its breakout Sundance debut in 2020, “Zola” is finally ready for her theatrical close-up.” Sharf reviews the film by Panamanian-American director Janicza Bravo, which opens in U.S. theaters this June.

Moviegoers, Zola is ready for her close-up. Janicza Bravo’s rambunctious road trip dramedy “Zola” was one of the breakout sensations of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, but the pandemic has prevented it from opening in theaters for well over a year. That changes this summer, as A24 is finally set to release the well-reviewed indie. The official “Zola” trailer has now dropped (watch below) and it showcases the crackling onscreen chemistry between costars Taylour Paige and Riley Keough.

The official “Zola” synopsis from A24 reads: “Zola (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.”

Co-written by Bravo and “Slave Play” playwright Jeremy O’Harris, “Zola” is based on a viral Twitter thread posted in October 2015 by Detroit-based stripper A’ziah “Zola” King. The Twitter thread inspired the article “Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted,” written by journalist David Kushner. The film also stars Nicholas Braun, Ari’el Stachel, and Colman Domingo.

Paige has been a rising presence in the indie film world over the last year with supporting turns in Oscar nominee “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and the recently-released “Boogie,” but “Zola” should do the trick in providing Paige her long-awaited breakthrough star vehicle. Keough is no stranger to indie movie acclaim given her performances in films such as “American Honey,” “The Lodge,” “It Comes at Night,” and “Under the Silver Lake.”

IndieWire’s chief critic Eric Kohn gave “Zola” a B+ review out of Sundance, calling it “a wild road trip comedy” and “a rambunctious crowdpleaser.” The original score for the film was composed by “Under the Skin” and “Jackie” Oscar nominee Mica Levi. The film joins David Lowery and Dev Patel’s “The Green Knight” as an upcoming A24 summer release that was originally set to open in 2020.

For original article, see https://www.indiewire.com/2021/03/zola-trailer-a24-1234626864/

For more on the director’s Panamanian roots, see https://remezcla.com/features/film/interview-lemon-director-janicza-bravo/

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