classified 18

Please note: This was screened in Aug 2021

Janicza Bravo
Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun
86 mins, 2020, USA
Primary language

"Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense.” - Zola, circa 2015.

Thus began the odyssey of one A’Ziah King, aka Zola. From acclaimed writer/director Janicza Bravo, Zola's stranger-than-fiction saga, which she first told in a now-iconic series of viral, uproarious tweets, comes to dazzling cinematic life.

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 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 shady guys in Tampa, and other unexpected adventures in this wild, see-it-to-believe-it tale.

Bravo's second feature is a comedy-thriller that starts off as a free-spirited, female-centric road movie and detours into avenues both criminal and incredible. Beginning as an After Hours-like descent into the unknown, Zola builds and transforms into something else entirely: a journey reclaimed and reframed, several months later, by the person who experienced it.