In Defense of Nomads
Nomadland reveals an America driven apart by sociocultural divides, economic downturn, and the crumbling of communities and neighbourhoods under the weight of gentrification and political polarisation. It is as much an invigorated indictment, as a poignant reflection upon what it means to be a citizen – what it means to be free; what it means to have a Home. Indeed, at times like these, when Home is less of a constant than it ever has been in our history, the movie's aftertaste is bittersweet – bitter in its stark depiction of a cruel yet truthful reality; sweet, in that it leaves us pondering what it means to exist, to thrive, to have a home beyond a roof.
It is against the backdrop of Trump's America – both America under Trump, and the America that gave rise to Trump – that Oscars-winning director Zhao Ting (Chloé) prudently chose her protagonist. The female lead – portrayed by the inimitable Frances McDormand – is a recently widowed vandweller. As she sets off across the country in pursuit of employment – and a new anchor, or purpose, to her life – she encounters other nomads, individuals who constitute the 'underbelly' of America, often relegated to being the subjects of cold statistics compiled and consumed by nonchalant bureaucrats and the intransigent bureaucracy. ...