First Look At ‘Nomadland’ Starring Frances McDormand

With the festival circuit and the film industry as a whole attempting to adapt and steadily pick up the pieces following wide-spread lockdown, Chloé Zhao’s second feature has been teased with a trailer lasting less than a minute.

Already beginning to garner rave reviews from the Toronto International Film Festival, Nomadland, its director and lead actress Frances McDormand have found themselves placed firmly in the realm of early Oscar Buzz.

After the economic collapse of her Nevada hometown, Fern (Frances McDormand) resolves to leave her old life behind in favour of becoming a nomad and crossing the American Midwest, casting aside the conventional means of living. This is Zhao’s third feature following the success of her debut, Songs My Brother Taught Me, and sophomore film, The Rider. It precedes her move into the Marvel cinematic universe with Eternals, slated for release in 2021.

Read more: Nomadland Wins The Golden Lion At The Venice Film Festival 2020

While scarce on the narrative details, the teaser makes a deal with the audience as we watch Fern meander around a trailer park, greeting the people she has met during her sojourn and a knowing glance into the camera, all in a single take. The world around her is gloomy, but at peace. In a very sedate move, it very much feels like a slice of calm in the storm of this year.

Based on Jessica Bruder’s 2017 non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century, Zhao’s adaptation includes some of the very real modern-day nomads featured in the original text. Most notably: Linda May, Bob Wells and Charlene Swankie, who all act alongside McDormand and fellow actor David Strathairn.

Nomadland will be screened at the BFI Southbank as part of the London Film Festival, before being released in the UK on 1 January 2021.

Words by Jack Roberts


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