With ‘Zola,’ Janicza Bravo Seeks Space in Comedy for Black Women Filmmakers with an ‘Unusual Lens’

No sophomore slump for writer/director Janicza Bravo, who follows up her offbeat debut feature, “Lemon,” with a sensational cinematic rendering of A’Ziah “Zola” King’s now-iconic late 2015 Twitter thread detailing a wacky tale about how two Detroit exotic dancers make an impromptu “hoeism” trip to Florida that goes horribly awry.

“It’s kind of long but full of suspense,” Zola cautioned her audience.

And so began an odyssey, replete with segues into prostitution, murder, and attempted suicide, which quickly went viral, en route to becoming tragicomic fodder well-suited for a filmmaker who describes her lens as “a little bit unusual.”Critical reaction to the curio that was “Lemon,” which world premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, was a mixed bag.

On the other hand, “Zola” has overwhelmingly been praised by critics, and is one of the most anticipated films of the year — especially as potential catharsis for audiences entering an uncertain post-pandemic future,

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