Best Film and Best Actress: “Nomad Land” challenges capitalism


Nomadic Land by Chloe Chow is still a favorite for Best Picture Oscar. Chow’s film (the third in her career) is a documentary and fictional mix, bringing together a Hollywood actress and non-professional actors. They are real nomads who have testified about how life on the road allowed them to avoid debt, consumerism and unemployment. Chow adopts a fictional story in which she gives life to Vern (Frances McDormand), a widow and former teacher who is forced to live on the road after her city (Empire, Nevada) is wiped off a map and revoked her zip code. She piles some of her belongings into a pickup truck and goes. The truck becomes her home, jumping from job to job with loss on top, but without falling into despair. Along the way, she meets real nomads, who become her guides. Chow’s film, ruthless and simple, is different from contemporary films that turn cinema into a kind of comic book. Gray but Zhao is ready to confront gloomy simplicity without exaggeration, and very close to Italian realism. It leaves small cracks, for light to enter, like potions of hope. Zhao and Verne do not view life with gullibility, but with innocence and confidence in humanity. This humanity appeared in true travelers, their desire to share, and their inability to resent or feel self-pity. In this way, the film succeeds in imparting a feeling of sympathy for these people who were termed by capitalism. It didn’t romanticize this way of life, nor did it frustrate it. Here, we don’t know if this year we can cancel the Best Actress competition and present the Oscar from now to Frances McDormand for the role. As she shone on the screen, she conveyed every look, every wrinkle, every expression of sadness and discontent, without exaggeration and with much emotion. A lively and humane inner performance, the result of the actress’ dedication to even living in the truck for a while and working the temporary jobs her character gets throughout the film. Her approach to the film is the same as the film: not acting but disappearing into character. It is enough for her to raise her eyebrow, smile lightly, or wave her face to tell us everything she feels. Performance that comes out from within, without explosive moments or external catalysts. Frances McDormand was the body and soul of her character.

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