Director Chloe Zhao’s third feature, Nomadland, landed on the Lido this morning as one of the final movies to screen in competition at the Venice Film Festival. Reviews are embargoed for another several hours on the exploration of modern-day, van-dwelling life on the road, but what I can say is that there was energetic and sustained applause at the press screening I attended. … [Read more...] about ‘Nomadland’: Frances McDormand & Chloe Zhao On Being Docents For The Van-Dwelling Community – Venice
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The new teaser for Nomadland doesn’t offer much in the way of plot, but it does capture the film’s distinct vibe. It comprises a single shot of Fern walking through a campground filled with RVs and vans as the sun fades below the mountains in the distance. At one point, Linda calls over to Fern, inviting her to join a group sitting around a campfire, but Fern declines and continues to wander through the expanse. … [Read more...] about Frances McDormand Heads West in New ‘Nomadland’ Teaser
There are ways in which I somewhat prefer Zhao’s two previous films, mainly because they center on people whose Western lifestyles remain connected to those of many previous generations of Americans—cowboys, oil drillers, ranchers and farmers, homesteaders, anyone who works with animals—but now have been bypassed by technology and utterly changed times. The homeless, rootless people on view in Nomadland summon up memories of the itinerants and vagabonds of the Great Depression years, but at least two factors are different: Many of the modern-era vagabonds possess vehicles, even if they have no money, and the dominant personalities tend to be women, although that impression could simply stem from Zhao having decided to focus more upon them (the only other name actor here, David Strathairn, plays a taciturn guy clearly interested in Fern but who gets nowhere). … [Read more...] about Film Review: Chloé Zhao’s ‘Nomadland’ Starring Frances McDormand
Clearly, distribs are holding back, or perhaps using the festivals to strike a distribution deal and join the race before the late February deadline. That might be the strategy for a few movies I have seen head to Toronto this week that also either played Venice or were intended for Cannes and/or Telluride. These include the excellent Concrete Cowboy starring Idris Elba in a career highlight performance, and a host of pro and non-pro members of the cast of this story about urban horseback riding in the inner city of Philadelphia. Elba is superb, as are newcomer Caleb McLaughlin, Emmy-winner Jharrel Jerome (Moonlight), Lorraine Toussaint, and Method Man, among others. Lee Daniels and Tucker Tooley are among producers of the excellent film from director Ricky Staub. I actually saw it the first time several months ago and can’t understand why it is still without a domestic distributor. But it definitely should find one now, as real life events and the Black Lives Matter … [Read more...] about Oscars: Fall Film Fest Circuit Aims To Promote Early Contenders McDormand, Winslet, Hopkins, King, And More – But Is It Just Too Damn Early?
Collaborating with her regular cinematographer Joshua James Richards, Zhao blurs the line between narrative and vérité documentary. She frames her subjects against majestic landscapes and gorgeous watercolor sunsets but never aestheticizes nature for postcard effect. Their considerable grandeur and drama aside, these lonely roads, rugged mountains and rocky deserts are an intrinsic part of the travelers' lives, never a sightseeing panorama. A simple shot of Fern floating naked in a river, or another in which she's behind the wheel while a bison runs along beside the road, suggest the strength and independence she's drawing from nature. … [Read more...] about ‘Nomadland’: Film Review | Venice 2020