Programme

NOMADLAND

Chloé Zhao

USA, 2020 / 108 min / English OV with French & German subt. / Drama

Opening Film

Following an economic crisis, a woman embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. She drives her old RV up and down the highways of America’s West, following the seasons and seasonal jobs. When she discovers a community of like-minded nomads, her heart opens, but she’s cautious about forging bonds.

The film features real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.

“Adapting Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book, Chloé Zhao writes, directs, and edits with impressively crisp focus. The film gets into and out of every scene with rare economy, cutting to the heart of each moment in our growing understanding of Fern.” Toronto International Film Festival

 

Screenings
Thu 04/03 19:00 Kinepolis Kirchberg EN OV with DE & FR subt. Projection privée
Thu 04/03 19:30 Kinepolis Kirchberg EN OV with DE & FR subt. Public https://luxfilmfestfilms.megatix.be/en/HO00003183

Nomadland arrives between Zhao’s award-winning prairie drama The Rider and her upcoming Marvel superhero movie, The Eternals. It’s yet more evidence of what makes her a singular filmmaker and one of the most important new voices in American cinema. Zhao seeks out characters living in the margins of society and on the periphery of movie heroism, and shows us why these seeming outcasts define America, and movies, more than the big-screen protagonists we’re used to. As we watch Fern eke out a living in precarious jobs, try and fail and try again to form relationships, and all against stunning expanses of desert and sky, it’s clear that we’re watching a portrait of America now.” Toronto International Film Festival

“The people she meets on the road are, mostly, real nomads who have vivid presences on screen and McDormand’s modest, equable persona slots easily into this group. In some ways, her character functions as the film’s interviewer, or ambassador to the real world. Zhao and McDormand have to steer her fictional existence into their actual lives, and steer their lives into an imagined world. McDormand is a marvellous diplomat for this creative process. […] Sometimes Nomadland looks like a very, very sweet and positive version of Mad Max – a film about a postapocalyptic US where the people riding around in vans and trucks are just hippy-ish souls who only want to help each other. […] And in some ways this isn’t quite a postapocalypse: the nomads find work and their lives have a kind of purpose, even a nobility. […] Zhao may well have drawn some inspiration from movies such as Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970) or Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978), with their hard-scrabble world. The important difference is that her movie is not directionally shaped by narrative […] It is more of a group portrait and a portrait of the times, brought off with exceptional intelligence and style. Arguably it is not angry enough about the economic forces that are causing all this but it still looks superbly forthright. There is real greatness in Chloé Zhao’s film-making.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 11/09/2020

“Zhao once again relies on mixed methods, nonfiction rendered into compellingly realistic drama thanks to a cast of nonprofessional actors playing versions of themselves. The result is as stimulating and satisfying as it is iffy and curious — all healthy indications of an experiment at work. An unexpected benefit of having Bruder’s book to guide the filmmaker in this effort is that, for the readers of the book, some of the characters we meet will be familiar.” K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 04/12/2020

Nomadland isn’t just a chronicle of lives on the margins; in showing us individuals who have retreated from the mainstream, blazed their own trails and forged their own identities, it becomes its own hauntingly idiosyncratic act of creation. McDormand doesn’t disappear into Fern; she’s revealed by Fern, and Fern is revealed by her. The innate kinship between character and actor is as obvious as their shared first initial. […] And while the qualities we often associate with a McDormand performance may be tamped down here — the salty comic aggression, the steely refusal to back down — they persist nonetheless in Fern’s ever-watchful gaze and thin, guarded smile.” Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 02/12/2020

“If road movies have an intrinsic weakness, it’s the episodic nature of their narratives, but Nomadland solves that beautifully, creating a pattern in which the path is more circular than linear, and impactful characters come back around to more deeply enrich Fern’s journey. The result goes deeper than Into the Wild — or Reese Witherspoon’s off-the-beaten-path movie Wild, for that matter — although McCandless surely would have approved. Here’s that rare movie that embodies his belief that ‘there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.’” Peter Debruge, Variety, 11/09/2020

Awards
  • Golden Lion – Best Film, Venice Film Festival, 2020 (Italy)
  • Fair Play Cinema Award, Venice Film Festival, 2020 (Italy)
  • SIGNIS Award - Honorable Mention, Venice Film Festival, 2020 (Italy)
  • People's Choice Award, Toronto International Film Festival, 2020 (Canada)
  • Best Film, National Society of Film Critics Awards, 2021 (USA)
  • Best Actress, National Society of Film Critics Awards, 2021 (USA)
  • Best Director, National Society of Film Critics Awards, 2021 (USA)
  • Best Director, Online Film Critics Society Awards, 2021 (USA)
  • Best Actress, Online Film Critics Society Awards, 2021 (USA)
  • Best Picture, Online Film Critics Society Awards, 2021 (USA)
  • Best Cinematography, Online Film Critics Society Awards, 2021 (USA)
  • Best Director, Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards, 2021 (USA)
  • Best Actress, Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards, 2021 (USA)
  • Best Director, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Outstanding Feature Film, Women's Image Network Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Irving M. Levin Award for Film Direction, San Fransisco Film Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Audience Award – Best Gala Film, San Diego International Film Festival, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Director, New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Rare Pearl Award, Denver International Film Festival, 2020 (USA)
  • Audience Choice Award – Best Feature, Chicago International Film Festival, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Director, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Cinematography, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Picture, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Actress, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Audience Award - Narrative Feature, Montclair Film Festival, 2020 (USA)
  • Audience Award – Drive-In, Mill Valley Film Festival, 2020 (USA)
  • Audience Award – Mind the Gap, Mill Valley Film Festival, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Film, Indiewire Critics' Poll, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Director, Indiewire Critics' Poll, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Cinematography, Indiewire Critics' Poll, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Director, Indiana Film Journalists Association, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Actress, Indiana Film Journalists Association, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Picture, Indiana Film Journalists Association, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Director, Florida Film Critics Circle Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Best Actress, Florida Film Critics Circle Awards, 2020 (USA)
  • Audience Favorite, Film Fest 919, 2020 (USA)
  • Distinguished Screenwriter, Film Fest 919, 2020 (USA)
Cast & Credits
Cast 
Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Charlene Swankie
Screenplay 
Chloé Zhao, based on the eponymous book by Jessica Bruder
Cinematographer 
Joshua James Richards
Sound 
Sergio Diaz
Set 
Joshua James Richards
Music 
Ludovico Einaudi
Production 
Highwayman Films, Hear/Say Productions, Cor Cordium Productions
Distribution 
The Walt Disney Company Belgique - Luxembourg
Biography

Chloé Zhao was born in Beijing in 1982. She completed her BA in political science at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and her MFA in film production at NYU. After directing numerous short films, her first feature film, Songs My Brother Taught Me (2015), premiered at Sundance Festival, before being selected in the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes. Her second feature, The Rider (2017), was once again selected in the Quinzaine and collected four Independent Spirit Award nominations. Nomadland (2020) is her third feature film. She is currently developing the next entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Eternals.

Filmography
  • 2020 – Nomadland
  • 2017 – The Rider
  • 2015 – Songs My Brother Taught Me
  • 2011 – Benachin (short)
  • 2010 – Daughters (short)
  • 2009 – The Atlas Mountains (short)
  • 2008 – Post (short)