“Zola” is a short horror film directed by Muse Watson. The film was presented at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival, and stars Olivia Sjödin and Danny Paul.
The film Zola is a portrait of a victim of love and pain, made by a filmmaker who is a victim of love and pain, and shot by a director who is a victim of love and pain. (I call that a story.) The story follows its protagonist, Vincent (Adèle Exarchopoulos), as she and her lover, Léo (Gael García Bernal), fall madly in love. But tragedy follows the lovers and they soon decide to separate. The film holds very little back as it follows the ups and downs of their relationship over the years without ever making the viewer feel like they want to slap or hug Vincent.We practically demand that our conversation speak to us in a meaningful way. We demand that it be some sort of solution or commentary on the injustices of the world, and we expect our creators to put us out of our misery. But this need not always be the case. Great art doesn’t need to talk about anything. Therein lies the genius of the film Zola. It uses excellent cinematography to captivate you with its story. A story that is exactly what the opening lines say; the story of how me and that bitch fought.
I haven’t read the viral Twitter feed that inspired the film yet, and to be honest I never felt the need to. Of course, a Twitter feed that leads to the making of a feature film sounds like a terrible idea. Reading this thread will not change that opinion, meeting Zola did not change that opinion either. Great movies can come from terrible ideas though, and this movie is an example of that. Zola is a cinematic experience like no other. It’s a story that ultimately isn’t about anything, but it entertains with its cinematic talent and insane experience. The crazier the story, the more engaging it is for you.
This is a normal, unconventional story
Stories are a great conspirator. The stories connect people from different backgrounds and allow everyone to learn a little more about each other. It’s also a great way to make friends by bringing people together. This is one of the reasons why Zola is so effective. It’s more a friend’s account of his eventful weekend than a movie. As is always the case when one hears about one of these fantastic stories, the basic elements of the story are missing. Things like structure, character development and theme mean nothing. The goal is to entertain your audience; to keep them engaged, use hyperbole and exaggeration. Ash is all that. The characters are unreliable, you don’t know what is real and what is not, but none of that matters because it is so exciting!
What Zola does really well is what is needed to shape this story: authenticity. Co-writer and director Janica Bravo (with co-writer Jeremy O. Harris) brings Zola to life with unadulterated immediacy. Both writers know that great stories can be both heard and felt, and they apply this brilliantly to Zola. From the bleak, washed-out visual style to the dialogue, everything we see and hear on screen is designed to create atmosphere. One that fits these characters, their lives and this story.
A good story needs memorable characters
Zola is played and acted great from front to back. Great stories are told by great storytellers, but it’s the characters that make the stories memorable. Taylor Page does well against the excellent performances of the rest of the cast. Paige, who has great moments herself, usually responds to greatness. It’s a thankless task, but it’s vital to the film, which also provides some great moments. She directs and narrates the film well and shows promise for the future.
One of his most memorable performances was as X, played by Colman Domingo. X is a character shrouded in mystery, right down to his ever-changing accent, who is in fact the main villain. Domingo gives this character an extravagance: sometimes his classic charm, sometimes his poignant intensity. He’s always great, but in Zola’s film he’s the ultimate game-changer. The biggest surprise was Nicholas Brown as Derrek, the neutered boyfriend of Stephanie Riley Keough (more on her later). He brings a lot of humor and absurdity to the story and is just a pleasure to watch. These characters and Jason Mitchell’s incredible, albeit brief, performance give Zola’s film the memorable characters it so desperately needs. While they don’t have their own story and you don’t really care what happens to them, they are the kind of characters you expect in a story like this and, more importantly, you don’t forget them.
Riley Keefe steals the movie
The most memorable and absurd of all the heroines is Stephanie Riley Keefe. Keefe is an incredible actor with great range and talent. All their skills are highlighted in this film. Stephanie is a difficult character to portray. With their braids, slang and general attitude, it’s easy to see them as problematic (which isn’t entirely wrong). But this is a real person. Growing up in Florida, I knew a lot of Stephanies, and as out of place as they may seem, they are much more genuine than you think. Keefe bravely walks the incredibly thin line of this character. An enigma full of energy, confusion and attraction – it’s impossible to take your eyes off her when she’s on screen. This is a hurricane performance from an extremely talented actress that is certainly among the best of the year.
What is this movie about?
Everything Zola does is designed to captivate the viewer and pull them into this crazy story. This was achieved through excellent direction and interesting characters. His brilliant story becomes even more brilliant when you look behind the curtain and find nothing. Zola is not a film full of profound philosophical themes. There is no insistence on intelligence or use of broken characters to highlight greater injustices. Quite simply, it’s a crazy story. You can deepen and extract certain themes if you wish, you can do that with anything. But this doesn’t seem to be his goal. The goal is much simpler – to tie you down. And it will definitely inspire you.
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