Nomadland: review of the Oscar-winning film

Nomadland: review of the Oscar-winning film


Presented in world premiere at the last edition of the Venice Film Festival, where, among other things, it won the most prestigious award, Nomadland has started a journey dismayed by numerous awards and now presents itself as the favorite title at the Oscars. On April 25th we will find out if indeed, as happened for the Golden Globes, the film directed by Chloé Zhao will be the feature film to triumph and if, just as likely, its director will enter history as the second woman to win the statuette in the category relating to best director.

Homeless or Houseless?

Nomadland tells the story of Fern, a middle-aged widowed woman who prefers to leave the road to a sedentary and stable life, living in his camper and moving from town to town. The encounters, the sunsets, the places and the works that the woman will encounter from time to time will constitute the baggage of her experience, of her existence.

In one of the most significant passages of the film, aimed at restoring the character of the protagonist, Fern does not define himself homeless (homeless), but houseless (homeless). The difference is subtle (in English home and house are synonymous although they have slightly different connotations) but fundamental. In fact, the woman has a house and how: her van. However, it is an unconventional, limited house that travels on four wheels. Fern's personality is a borderline, marginal personality who lives outside all preconceptions. In short, a personality that has no home in contemporary America.

A love letter

Thus, Nomadland turns into an open-hearted love letter to a country that is increasingly distant, distant (pay attention to how the director uses the spaces in the film tell a lot about this detachment). The great and glorious West, the far west that we all aspire to thanks above all to the cinematic epic, is traversed far and wide by this aimless film on the road. The purpose is precisely the road, the journey, not its destination.

Nomadland manages to perfectly photograph the state of mind of a woman, a community, a nation that is increasingly lost and disoriented. A country now deprived of its roots, which needs to recover its past, go back to its origins to try to rediscover itself. In Nomadland you can feel the effects of Trump's policy. The film is a sort of elegy to the minorities, the marginalized and the sense of welcome that perhaps the United States was once accustomed to but which today it is completely lacking. Nomadlan d is therefore the staging of a state that knows very well which is the roof under which to shelter, but no longer knows which house it belongs to.

Fern thus becomes the ideal symbol, the maximum synthesis of states United States of America more contemporary to us. A lonely woman, with her head on her shoulders and ready to face constant changes in order to find her own balance. Frances McDromand is very good at the part. The actress manages to convey all the uncertainties and nuances of a precarious existence, but which does not care about stability. The important thing is to continue to be surprised at every single moment, every moment, meeting or word that you may encounter along the way.

Nomadland & Soul

In this sense it is very curious to note how the message behind Nomadland is not so far from what was explicitly themed in the most recent of Pixar films, Soul. There, a musician frustrated by the failures of his professional career rediscovered the value of simplicity, of life manifesting itself as such, not as a path aimed at a goal to be achieved. In Nomadland, the journey undertaken by Fern is practically the same.

Perhaps it is therefore no coincidence that both films are owned by Disney (Nomadland in particular is a Fox production which, however, has been acquired for some time by the Mickey's house). Reason why it will be possible to see the film from April 30 on the Disney + streaming platform. It therefore seems that after many decades in which Disney has told stories focused on self-affirmation, the achievement of a goal and the fulfillment of a long-held dream, it now feels the need to stop. The idea is to try to take a step back, enhance every single moment and try to thematize this message for both children and adults.

The right film at the right time

Indeed Nomadland is a deeply authorial title, written and directed by a young director who has already proved that she knows how to marry a unique and interesting gaze (the previous work, The Rider, is a small jewel) and be able to communicate with the power of images. . Thus, this new feature film also seeks the approval of the most cinephile audience, relying on images of rare power and contemplative silences in which to lose oneself.

Nomadland is the right film at the right time. In a year where the great film show has had to stop and where very fast social changes are shifting the balance of the entertainment market, this work fits perfectly into the most contemporary logics, becoming the front runner par excellence in the race for the 'Oscar. Probably a few years ago it would have been impossible to predict such a success, but today the most passionate cinephiles could rejoice and above all hope for a different attention from the market towards this kind of products. However, following Fern's example, perhaps it is also useless to look to tomorrow trying to chart the road: it is more correct to follow it without too many expectations and see where she will lead us.

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