Nomadland, The narrator of movement and settlement

April 14th, 2021 by Alva Blomkvist

Nomadland is a movie written, produced and directed by Cloe Zhao and published in 2020. It has wined lots of artistic awards such as Golden Globe 2021 in both Best director and Best motion picture, and Venice Film Festival 2020 in Golden Lion for best film, Fair play cinema and Honorable mention. It stars Frances McDormand as a woman who leaves her home forcefully and lives in her van. Empire, a company town for US Gypsum Corporation disappeared since closing mines and leaving labors. Fran was living in Empire with her husband when he worked in gypsum mines. She lost her husband and it was the start of her nomadic life.

The story of movie is a straight line. It is about a period of a woman’s life. But interestingly the movie isn’t story centric. It is about the trajectory of changing in a woman’s characteristics. Fran is mostly seen in moving during the whole film but just while she is moving, she has settled down. Firstly it looks paradoxical, but it’s real. She has stuck in her memories and doesn’t like to stop and settle down in a real place since she doesn’t feel any attachment and belonging. Memories of her husband are strongly alive in her life and she tries to keep them alive by saving stuff that she and her husband had memories with them. Nostalgia and love of her husband are just like a circle that continuously doesn’t let her to feel belonging to any specific place but her home in Empire. She said that she is not homeless but houseless, and we can see that she attaches to her “home” in Empire. The golden sentence of this movie is a sentence that is quoted from Fran’s father: “what has remembered is alive”. Although Fran tries to leave her memories and start a new life until the end of movie, but the end scene shows that she had a long way to get her home, a long way as a long road.

This movie seems to be more symbolic than a true story of a person. Empire is the symbol of traditional and old-fashioned life of people and Fran is the symbol of people who forced to move because of modern life and modern world. She looks like a particularlist person, a person who attaches to a particular place, things, people and memories. She likes moving but at the same time she brings all her stuff that related to her attachment to old-fashioned world, since she is alive with them, she needs them, because it is her “home”. The movie shows us fantastically the feeling of belonging, the concept of “home” and the influence of having and keeping “nostalgia” in this feeling. Director tries to tell us that we can keep nostalgias for granted since we will see our beloved future at the end of the road and the modern world cannot through away all our belongings. Finally this movie is one of recommendations for those people who want to know better about the concept of “home” and “nostalgia”.

 

Fatemeh Shirazizadeh

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