After “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” and “The Rider”, Chinese-American director Chloé Zhao releases her latest movie. Called “Nomadland”, the movie won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The movie has also won the Golden Globes award for Best Motion Picture – Drama in 2021, winning on the same occasion the award for Best Director. As well as 3 Oscars including Best Picture 2021.
Described as a melancholic road trip, “Nomadland” takes us to the universe of “van dwellers”. Behind this now common word hide Americans living in fitted vans, working jobs from jobs. For a total immersion, Zhao shot for five months in seven different States across the United States. The director also called in several non-professional actors but real “van dwellers”.
As for the rest of the cast, Zhao chose to direct talented actress Frances McDormand (“Fargo”, “Burn After Reading”, “3 Billboards”…). She plays Fern, a sixty-year-old woman who has lost everything and decides to travel across Western American.
After losing everything during the Great Recession, a sixty-year-old woman decides to travel Western America, living as a modern-time nomad.
Nomadland is a movie knock like we rarely see, simple and genuine, without fuss nor trick. A picture with especially moving photography, revealing the very beauty of American landscapes. Because this is the very first asset of the movie: these wide shot-landscapes, showing a character, Fern, played by France McDormand, so small in these wide stretches. A landscaping contrasting with the community of “Van Dwellers”, reinforcing their isolation from the world and solitude, crossing the movie.
Here, no convoluted nor pompous story. Zhao is like an anthropologist, in the heart of this community of nomads, as well as an observer through the lens of the camera, and an actress in some ways, through McDormand’s performance. A genuine melancholic road trip, genuine in how it addresses its topic… and very hopeful as well. The story of a woman, on her own but free. Our favorite movie of the week!
"Nomadland" is to be out on June 9, 2021 in France.