The movie "Nomadland by Chloe Zhao swept six awards at the recent Academy Awards ceremony. Since the 1. July it is shown in German cinemas.
by Katja Nicodemus
A woman drives through the desert in her converted van. Her name is Fern, played by the wonderful actress Frances McDormand. And that’s why you could drive forever with Fern through the west of the U.S. Sings Fern to give herself courage? Maybe. Or maybe she’s just at one with herself and the moment.
Frances McDormand plays a modern nomad
Fern’s husband died of cancer. On top of that, she lost her job and her house after her hometown became a ghost town due to a mine closure. So she declares the rusty van her new home, driving it from seasonal job to seasonal job. Fern is a modern nomad like so many U.S. men and women. And if the tire is flat and the replacement is missing, then there is still the acquaintance on the other side of the parking lot.
Stories full of hilarity and pain
"Nomadland" is the third feature film by Chloe Zhao. As with her previous films, Zhao spent a lot of time with the people she tells about. In "Nomadland she works for the first time with a professional actress. Together with Frances McDormand, she lived for months in trailer parks. The two women, made acquaintances and friends with real road nomads. In "Nomadland some play themselves. Their humorous and painful stories flow into the film. Like that of Robert Wells, who lost his son years ago and founded a training camp for road nomads, where Fern learns survival tricks, too.
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Solidarity among people "on the road is necessary for survival in a country that deprives so many of its citizens of any support. And so is "Nomadland a film about people who meet again and again in the lee of a gas station, on free campsites. Or in the parking lot of an amusement park that offers temporary low-wage jobs.
"Nomadland is a great film
It’s touching to follow Frances McDormand’s Fern on her journey. For this actress does: nothing. She doesn’t need to play sensitivities or moods. She becomes a medium for the people she encounters. To the ally of her film character, who has lost everything but still doesn’t give up. Even though it’s hard sometimes. For example, in the face of a car repair that takes more than 2.000 dollars.
In this great film, we experience how the American West also becomes Fern’s home. It takes the freedom promise of the American landscape at its word. You believe this taciturn, brave woman that she no longer needs a house when she drinks coffee in the morning with a view of a canyon. Or sitting around the campfire with comrades. A peaceful pioneer of her own life.