Jezebel is a true story based on the early life of the film’s writer and director, Numa Perrier. Perrier plays the older sister Sabrina in the film but she lived it as the younger sister. It’s available on Netflix.
Jezebel features 5 people crammed into a Las Vegas one bedroom apartment in the 90s. Their mother is in the hospital, dying. Sabrina, the eldest, is a phone sex worker. Tiffany (Tiffany Tenille) is a 19 year old who becomes Jezebel in the newly burgeoning world of internet sex cam girls.
Their brother Dominic (Stephen Barrington) and very young sister Juju (Rockwelle Dortch) also live there. Sabrina’s boyfriend David (Bobby Field) makes the 5th person in the tiny space.
Sabrina was the only one with a job. She saw an ad for the internet chat job and urged Tiffany to apply. Sabrina gave Tiffany her Jezebel wig, a pat on the head, and sent her off. It sounds like there would be nudity in the film, but there is not. Tiffany, in particular, was filmed in respectful ways.
Tiffany was hired immediately by Chuck (Dennis Jaffee). Minutes later she was sitting in front of a camera in her underwear with Vicky (Zoe Tyson), learning how to lure men into the private chat rooms where she could earn $1 a minute in addition to her $15 an hour base pay.
In no time, Tiffany AKA Jezebel was the highest earner in the place. She attracted the special attention of a regular named Bobby (Brett Gelman) who wormed personal information out of her and wanted to meet her in real life.
Tiffany grew up fast and was savvy. She demanded $20 an hour base pay. She demanded that men be banned from the site if they used the N-word to describe her. She realized her power and she went after what she wanted.
The ending was ambiguous. I wasn’t entirely sure Tiffany was safe from the chat guy Bobby. However, since it was based on Numa Perrier’s real experiences, it’s safe to say that somewhere along the way she left the world of cam girls and moved into a new life.
The film was slow paced. The apartment was oppressive. Life was hard for this family. Coping took a lot of energy and strength. I’d like to know if they are all okay.
This is filmmaker Numa Perrier’s first film. After it showed at SXSW, it was picked up by ARRAY, a distribution collective focused on films by people of color and women.
Have a look at the trailer.
Have you seen Jezebel? What was your opinion of it?