Zora’s Janica Bravo releases a “stressful” movie that inspired her

ZoraIt’s one of the most promising and visually peculiar films to be released in 2021 on Wednesday. Starring Taylour Paige (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) And Riley KeoughUnder Silver Lake), The new A24 film turns Aziah “Zola” King’s noisy 2015 Twitter account (a thread recently published as a book) on stripping weekend trips in Florida into a Homer-worthy Odyssey. As Matt Patches published a review of Polygon at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, he said: Zora: Joel and Ethan Coen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Andrea Arnold, Martin Scorsese, and even Hollywood shuffle Director Robert Townsend — People known for synthesizing images and screenplays, comedies and thrills, personal and universal. Zora Working at that level, Bravo’s vision enhances Page’s careful but active lead performance. “

When Zora Polygon, released in theaters this Wednesday, chatted with director Janica Bravo (lemon, FX Atlanta) Factors that make “stressful comedy” successful, the process of developing a unique visual style for the film, the call back to social media in 2015, and the types of films she programs for the festival she dedicates. Zora..

[Ed. note: This interview has been edited for concision and clarity.]

In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, You mentioned the “stressful comedy” genre as what you find most comfortable to work with. What are some of your favorite stressful comedies, and in your opinion, do you distinguish those types of movies from regular comedies?

I call my work a stressful comedy. And I think Lane means it’s not only very interesting, but also a very unpleasant job. And sometimes it’s just not fun at all — it’s just unpleasant. So I’m like being somewhere in that sweet spot.Some of my favorite stressful comedies, I would say Minnie and Moskowitz Probably my best. [John] A Cassavetes movie starring Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel. If you have a Criterion Channel, it’s just a beautiful love story It’s there now.. Another thing I really dig would be more modern, Punched Run Club.. I think Charlie Kaufman’s work actually exists in this field as well. Being John Malkovich.. [And] Adaptation!! I feel like all those movies fit in that space.

While filming, was there any other film that sought inspiration to draw similar inspiration from the interactive aesthetics of social media?

I think this sounds bad, but I don’t want it to sound bad. I don’t think there is a movie like this one that talks to the internet. Or he says he likes the aesthetics of the digital world like I do. There are many digital gestures in the movie that I have never used before. I’ve never seen a time stamp in a movie. I have never seen a screensaver in a movie. I’ve never seen a lock screen used like a time stamp. I have never seen a text message used as a confession and treated like Shakespeare. And maybe they do exist, I just haven’t seen that movie.

Mobile phones make up a large part of our lives, so it’s natural for characters to write and speak on their mobile phones when doing modern work. And you just thought it was very miserable to see someone staring at the phone, right? Or you can see the text on the phone and then see it on the screen, or you can see someone’s text on the phone and it looks like an image of that person’s phone. We’ve already seen it, and maybe it’s starting to look a little worn, so now I think it’s starting to feel a little tired. Did I really think about how to engage these things that are so embedded in our lives? How did they excite me in a different way, or in a way I’ve never seen?

Janicza Bravo talks to Taylour Paige on the next set. Zora
Photo: A24

I treated 2015 as a bit of a period. For me, I made a historical drama. 2015 is a time capsule. I feel the archive. Ah, wasn’t it so long ago? [laughs] Some of them were introduced on mobile phones and are now a part of our lives, so we were also paying attention to their relationship with the visual ones. Just as they are now embedded. We have a kind of Pavlovian relationship, even to the sound clues of social media. There was a volume button later in the movie, and previously there was a larger button specific to the period, but the volume button in the movie resembles the look of 2016 or 2017. The first one I used was from 2015. An image that looked like a kind of triangle. In one of the first screenings, when it appeared on the screen, many people in the audience went to their phone, so I decided to get rid of it. And I think our brain is just messed up. The relationship with our phone is messed up. You may also notice that Twitter whistles ring throughout the movie, and every time you hear it, people silence the phone. I think it’s great. I like that. I think it’s great.

How did you conceptualize the movie social media affordances? Did you have any direct references you were pulling out, like the videos you and the cast shot? How did you visualize it and implement it in your movie?

Many of them are scripted. I was trying to think about what it meant, so there were a lot of things like posts. Similarly, scrolling is what happened in the post. A visual effects specialist came in and made it for me. So that’s not what happened at this point. Much of that magic happened later, even in the screenshots within their screens driving the road. There is a scene where Riley is taking pictures of both her and Taylor and sees the moment the flash goes out or the camera releases the shutter due to an internal power outage. That’s what happens when you take a picture over the phone. We are duplicating it because it happens. So many of those things were posted, but they were written in the dialog. There’s a line that it’s going to happen, but like the scene, we’re just alive, and that kind of thing later became part of our magic, so we’ve got it I had to imagine it would happen. That was our source that came later.

While filming Zora, Janica Bravo sits in bed next to Taylour Paige and Riley Keough.

Janica Bravo with Taylour Paige and Riley Keough shooting Zora
Photo: A24

You’ve talked earlier about how you tell Zora’s story and know that you’re essentially the best person to protect her personality. You’re afraid there might have been a version of this movie that Zora wouldn’t have been given a fair shot if you didn’t do that. Please tell me more about it.

I think we both live in the same world. And in the world we live in, black women are not given dignity or often rooms. There is a version of this movie that treats the character as if she were disposable. Treat her world as disposable. Treat her agency as if it were insignificant. I was trying to protect it, so I felt it was the right person. I intended to protect it thoroughly, and for a long time it was a kind of down. I’ve been in the community forever and united with the real Zora. Ordinary people, and the word “ordinary” may sound a bit strange, but when we interact with people outside this business, real people, and invite them to this business, I take care of them. I think I’m responsible for guiding them and ensuring that they are treated correctly. This business, like many creative businesses, profits from behind many people without trusting them. And when faced with that fact, many will look back and often say, they signed with a dotted line! So I didn’t want us to do that. I wanted to be able to be an example of how we do it right. I don’t know we did everything right, but we know we did some things right.

Imagine for a moment that there is an entire festival dedicated to Zora. “Janicza Bravo presents: Zola Festival.” What is your favorite movie you would like to play with? ZoraOr do you feel that the theme, tone and appearance complement those of your movie?

By the way, on festival nights and daytime Zora, I would like to play a series of Pam Grier movies: Coffey, Cleopatra Jones, Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown.. When I started making a movie and started making that character, I asked myself and my co-author Jeremy O. Harris: ?? Who looks like a superhero? Who is completely fearless, but also very feminine and comfortable in her sexuality? And we both felt gravity towards Pam Grier. It was like the first and last we really saw it clearly.So I definitely program a series of movies of Pam Grier Zora..

Zora It will be released in theaters on July 30th.