A black waitress at a Detroit restaurant is persuaded by a white young stripper to accompany her on a road trip to Florida to perform on strip joints for some quick money, but what she had not bargained for is the nightmarish, often comic experience of a bizarre prostitution racket that she would be forced to be a part of. This zany independent film with a freewheeling style is supposedly based on true accounts that were reported on a lengthy Twitter thread that went viral one day in 2015. The thread, written by Zola, the black waitress, immediately got magazines and filmmakers interested.
Directed by Janicza Bravo and starring Taylor Paige as Zola and Riley Keough (who happens to be the granddaughter of Elvis Presley), @ZOLA (2021, USA) is a rollercoaster ride, alternating between disturbing and fun moments.
Streaming on NETFLIX, it’s definitely a worthwhile weekend viewing.
Ranjan Das is a Mumbai based filmmaker and faculty.