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In “Zora”, “Massive Life” Jancy The Bravo Cinema A24 Lemon New York Poland Hollywood

Putting your finger on the Janicza Bravo cinema is not easy. I would like to use terms such as surreal, disturbing, satire, absurdity, and another world when describing her work, including nine short films and two feature films, including the new film Zora.

“These are all very good and sexy words for me,” Bravo says with a laugh.

“Zora” A24 Scheduled to be shown in theaters on Wednesday, it’s the most vivid look of 40-year-old Bravo as an emergent filmmaker. First debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020, the film is one of the most anticipated films of the summer.It’s probably the first feature film adapted from twitter Thread — A’Ziah “Zola” King is about Florida A road trip to a miserable south strip club.

In Bravo’s hands, the Viral Tweet Storm is a fairy tale like The Wizard of Oz, turning into a nightmare. A fantastic, dark and realistic hallucinatory yet clear adventure through sex work, social media, race and violence. comedy And horror are intertwined. So are movies and the internet.

“I still think it’s a vehicle,” says Bravo. “I don’t know if it’s always fun.”

Even for some of Bravo’s closest collaborators, it can be difficult to explain the sense and style of a dreamy film that has lost Bravo’s sense of direction. In the process of making “Zora,” her production designer Katie Byron turned to her and asked if Bravo had done a lot of ketamine.

“Unfortunately, I’m a little straightedge,” says Bravo. “I’m very attracted to making works that feel a little bigger than life. Right next door. I’m familiar with it, but go to 11.”

Bravo’s “Massive Life” filmmaking has attracted a wide range of fans. Her second short, “Gregory Goes Boom,” in 2013, starred Michael Cera as a paraplegic. “Slave drama” playwright Jeremy O. Harris happened to see it on Sundance and fell in love. At that time, he thought Bravo was Polish by her name.Bravo was actually born in New York However, she grew up in Panama before moving to Brooklyn when she was twelve. Both her parents were tailors and the source of Bravo’s stylishness.

“What I liked at the time, and in all her films, was that she had a very sly and chaotic way of dealing with the darkest truths of American history and making her laugh all the time. “Yes,” Harris said while nursing a hangover. He got a smoothie after the festive “Zora” screening in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Harris became friends with Bravo about seven years ago. When the possibility of making “Zora” came up, Bravo asked him to write it with her. For Harris, “Zora” represents more than your average Hollywood breakthrough.

“This is a moment of deep catch-up,” says Harris. “I think people didn’t have the Rosetta Stone in the language she speaks because the work she’s doing is so consistent. We’re a black woman in this complex language in an independent film. I’m not used to listening to speaking at. “

“Zora” was originally founded by director James Franco. That version of the movie was a more casual rampage, according to the filmmaker. Bravo and Harris approach King’s Twitter thread. This is a colorful and often entertaining story, with phrases such as “stirring our affairs” into the dictionary. For Bravo and Harris, threads were a modern homeric epic. They wanted to ground the film from Zora’s point of view and capture how to treat black women as disposable and the traumatic fallout of black-white diversion.

“When Janica joined, it influenced my voice more,” says King, the film’s executive producer. Her tweets are published on a cloth hardcover.

In the film, Zola (played by Taylour Paige) is a Detroit waitress, and her waiting customer, Stephanie (Riley Keough), urges her to come to a party on the weekends in Florida to make money. I will. Keef plays Stephanie as an imitator of Zora by quickly adopting her Mannerism and phrases. For Harris, it’s a kind of blackface without makeup. One scene he compares to Spike Lee’s “Bambooz led”. Watching Stephanie drag Zora into a hellish situation.

“Zora” changes the direction of the camera depending on the whiteness. This is seen throughout Bravo’s work, including Bravo’s previous feature “Lemon” (about an aggressively unattractive and unsuccessful actor made with Brett Gelman, a former husband and frequent collaborator). It is a theme to be. The series she is currently developing with Jake Gyllenhaal is Dan Mallory, pseudonym AJ Finn, a best-selling novelist who turns out to have created her own tragic past with brain tumors. In the case of Bravo, whiteness is often treated as invisible neutrality. Her experience is the opposite.

“I wanted to talk to White, but I didn’t see anyone doing it, especially in comedy, so I wanted to talk about it,” Bravo says. “Usually when things were about race, they were obviously about race. And I’m interested in incorporating racing into everyday situations. That’s the way it is for me. It’s my own treatment of wearing this skin and wearing this body, feeling restricted or less. “

But keep in mind that “Zora” is still a vehicle. It obscures that thoughtful mediation. Throughout the movie, whenever a little conversation matches King’s tweet, the Twitter sound sounds like a slot machine chime. It is a touch that King considers “precious”.

“When I watch a movie, it’s a moment of a journey of time. It’s like suddenly forgetting where I am and returning to 2015. She really draws that image.” King says. “Movies, it feels like Twitter. I don’t know how to explain it, but I can explain it. From quotes to chimes to lighting, it feels like you’re on the internet.”

Whether for her identity, international childhood, or artistic instinct, the trick to making Bravo’s familiar look exotic is to make one leg in real life a strange, airy digital. It seems to be a perfect match with the real-life movie “Zora” with one leg. According to her, the movie is a love letter to the internet, the birthplace of the story.

“The reason it was created is because the Internet said it had to do that,” Bravo says. “It was this kind of theater event in October 2015. This audience appeared in it, they shouted, and they infuriated it. And the day ended in the next period: This was in the movie Must be done, and it was. ”


Follow AP film writer Jake Coil on Twitter:

In “Zora”, “Massive Life” Jancy The Bravo Cinema A24 Lemon New York Poland Hollywood

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