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“Nomadland”, by Chinese Chloé Zhao, big favorite of the Oscars

Nomadland, by Chinese filmmaker Chloe Zhao, is the big favorite of the 93rd Academy Awards, which takes place on the night of Sunday April 25 to Monday April 26 in Los Angeles. The film has already won the Golden Globe and the Bafta for Best Picture. This feature film, which is not yet available in France, was shot in the great outdoors of the American West, with the declassified of the country.

Nomadland is adapted from a novel by Jessica Bruder. The spectator walks in the footsteps of Fern, a woman in her fifties, aptly embodied by Frances McDormand. Her character travels the roads of the American West, living in her specially converted van, after the death of her husband, and the loss of her job at Empire, a company that extracts and processes gypsum.

One might think of a nod to a disgraced American Empire and its adrift citizens, except Empire really does exist, and many of the characters in the film are played not by professional actors, but by figures from the community. nomadic. These people, who much more often by constraint than by choice, roam America, stopping to sleep in parking lots in their camper vans, depending on the temporary and precarious jobs available to them. It was for them that Chloe Zhao had her first thought, when she won several Golden Globes at the end of February.

The talent of the Chinese director was already noticeable in her previous feature film The Rider, released in 2017. But it dazzles in this last film, thanks to many formal choices. She uses a lot of wide shots, backlighting, characters filmed from behind and an often extraordinary light linked to the choice to shoot most of the time in the early morning or at nightfall. The great outdoors in America provide an ideal natural backdrop, whether it’s desert, trees, mountains or rivers.

By focusing on these declassified anonymous, with miserable pensions and often without health coverage, the film is political, but not Manichean. He does nothing and many beautiful things appear from these often battered lives. Received with rave reviews, Nomadland cost five million dollars reported six in the United States. But the story is not over, and after several postponements, it should normally finally be visible in theaters in France soon.

“Nomadland”, by the Chinese Chloé Zhao, big favorite of the Oscars – the report by Matteu Maestracci


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