Frances McDormand in the film NOMADLAND. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Lost Highway

Rainspotting reviews 'Nomadland' and a rather peculiar year. The film has recently been premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and the Bergen International Film Festival enjoyed exclusive preview screenings.

2020 has been about as uneventful as Mad Max, and has been a relentless turd for many. At least the going ahead of the ‘Bergen International Film Festival’ brought us some semblance of normality and structure. Volunteering at the festival provided a certain sense of purpose that I and many others haven’t felt for a good long while.

And so, the famous adage goes, or is it just some shit motivational post on a middle-aged Instagram account, that you must lose everything to begin to find yourself.

An untoward act of piracy

A security guard sat at the front of the screening, scanning the audience like the T-1000. The film was so new (it had only premiered a few weeks before at the Venice Film Festival) that he was required to watch us watching him (and the film) to make sure no-one recorded it, although I’m sure the last film I watched that was filmed in the cinema was a VHS copy of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ with someone in front choosing to go to the toilet as Boromir dies, as is customary for Sean Bean (the death, not the spending a penny). The T-1000 did come in handy however, when some ruffian thought that theirFacebook feed was more interesting than the film but shat themself when he stood up and soon put their phone away.

We join Frances McDormand almost in a parallel universe to where we left her last, in her previous big screening outing in ‘Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri’; but this time, she is woman called Fern, a head full of thoughts, driving along a highway, incomparably alone this time and not with my favourite Sam Rockwell (who I only wish to ever be as cool as).

Frances is a brilliant actor and bares her soul in every project she is involved with. I could literally watch her going around a supermarket and sighing in the empty shelves of the toilet roll aisle to something like the opening of ‘Some Velvet Morning’ and it would be considered art. I get the feeling that this minimalistic film was a passion project for her, she also acts as producer, with Chloe Zhao directing and adapting the screenplay from a novel. Chloe is bravely directing one of the new Marvel installments next, giving the trolls something new to froth from their mouths, and onto their keyboards over alike with their treatment of Brie Larson and Zendaya.

Frances McDormand in the film NOMADLAND. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Wayward Wind

Fern is alone for the most part, having no secure income, and not having come to terms with her grief. The film is mostly quiet, beautiful, pensive, with real people both acting and revealing their stories to how they have found themselves in this limbo life of transit. Such questions to ponder are, are these people searching for an escape to normal life of their own volition, or are they running away from their troubles instead of confronting them? Fern struggles to let down her guard to those that care about her, an issue she begins to explore during the length of the film but never truly resolves.

I feel that the film resonated with myself and so many others in the audience due to the timing of the release. We are all feeling lost. Nothing is certain. No-one knows what is next. We are all nomads in our minds wandering around in the desert like in Wayne’s World 2 but without Jim Morrison showing up and advising us to put on Waynestock in Aurora, Illinois. We couldn’t even book Aerosmith if we wanted to due to the damn Pandemic. Shut up and dance.

Enjoy the Silence

The soundtrack is a pre-existing composition from pianist Ludovico Eunadi, called ‘Earth Preludes’ and is hauntingly beautiful accompanied by the scenery of Frances’ road trip and watching her alone in her thoughts. Perhaps the pandemic will start a resurgence in Indie cinema, small-scale films that can be made within whatever the government decides are theguidelines that week. If you build it, will they come? Maybe I’m just being optimistic, and it is truly a massive shit show for everyone involved in the creative industries. 

If you’re expecting a film with lots of action, or a resolution, this is not the film for you. But if your feeling somewhat defeated and lost, this film will surely resonate. We must forget, to remember. Surely another shit motivational post from the very same middle-aged Instagram account.

Slappe av med ‘Rainspotting’, Torsdag kl.6-kl.8 (kveld)

Rainspotting, the songs you like from films and the songs you like, not necessarily from films.

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