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ZOLA

ZOLA

Janicza Bravo · USA · 2020 · 87 mins · 18A
Awards IMDb7688%

Please note: online ticket sales are suspended momentarily, customers can only purchase tickets in person at the Cinecenta box office (open 40 minutes before every screening).

 When Aziah “Zola” Wells took to Twitter, in 2015, to tell the story of “why me and this bitch here, fell out,” the 148-tweet screed hit the viral big leagues before Zola was even done telling her story. A film inspired by a viral tweet thread could have gone any number of ways — indeed, the thread in question goes everywhere. A stripper misadventure, a chance encounter from hell, gun violence, a cuckolded boy toy, some awkward race bullshit, -- and a cutting sense of humor narrating it all. But the screen adaptation under the smart, hyper-stylish, coded and colorful direction of Janicza Bravo, who wrote the script with playwright Jeremy O. Harris, is what really makes it all swagger and singe.

Zola is played in the movie by Taylour Paige. She’s working as a waitress when she has the unfortunate luck of catching the eye of “this bitch right here” — a.k.a. Stefani (a titanically trashy Riley Keogh) — and getting drawn into a semi-friendship, then a road trip, then…

This is a movie that takes care to exploit, not the storyteller herself, but the cacophony of ideas at stake in her testimony. Ideas about sex work, and crazy white girls, and pimps and men with guns and, most of all, viral storytelling in itself, are what emerge, not from the plot alone, but from the tone. Zola makes you feel the itchy, uncomfortable gap between a tweet thread and life as Zola lives it for the span of this story. On the surface, it’s a movie about a road trip from hell. But what happens is almost less important than how Zola tells us it happens. The telling isn’t just in the voiceover, borrowed from the tweets. It’s in the way Bravo morphs and manifests it all onscreen. –RollingStone

“Raw, boundary-pushing cinema.”—Times (UK)

“That rarest of things: a film inspired by new media that deftly acknowledges the platform on which the story originally played out without becoming enslaved by it.”—Observer (UK)

Cast Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun, Colman Domingo, Ts Madison
     
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