- Frances McDormand plays a widow in Nomadland
- The film is an ode to American wanderlust
- Nomadland opened in Venice on Friday
Nomadland director Chloe Zhao took home the top prize at the Venice film festival on Saturday, the first woman to win the Golden Lion in a decade. The film, an ode to American wanderlust and the ups and downs of the open road, won top honor in a competition heralded as a relaunch of world cinema hit by the coronavirus crisis. Starring Frances McDormand, it is set among a motley tribe of aging, unlucky van dwellers roaming the West. The double Oscar winner plays a widow who hits the road after losing her home. Its Chinese-born director Chloe Zhao picked up the coveted award 10 years after Sofia Coppola’s 2010 win for her film. Somewhere, in a year in which almost half of the films in the main competition were directed by women.
Through Zoom, Chloe Zhao and Frances McDormand appeared from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, where the film opened in the United States on Friday, sitting inside the truck used in the film.
“Thank you so much for allowing us to go to your festival in this strange, strange world and way,” McDormand said.
“We’ll see you on the way,” they said in unison, citing a greeting used by the inhabitants of the van in the film.
The 77th edition of the “Mostra” festival, chaired by Australian actress Cate Blanchett as president of the jury, took place in a year in which cinemas were closed, sets were closed and viewers were forced to adopt video streaming at home, during months of lockdown imposed by coronavirus.
– Hot New Talents –
Zhao, 38, is one of Hollywood’s newest talents, and Variety magazine praised his latest film. The horseman, over a rodeo grunt, like a “mini masterpiece”. He is currently making the next Marvel movie, The Eternals.
Nomadland It was applauded when it opened in Venice on Friday and had speakers at a Pasadena drive-in theater for its US premiere.
The Hollywood Reporter called the film “a unique portrait of the existence of a stranger,” while Variety said it was “a marvel of empathy and introspection.”
Chloe Zhao, who cast real truck dwellers over McDormand, insisted the film was not political, but many saw it as a subtle allegory for America’s decline, with its humble heroes clinging to the last strings of the American dream. .
– High profile ‘test’ –
The Venice festival, normally attended by more than 10,000 film industry executives, critics, journalists and moviegoers, was the first major international film competition to take place after others around the world were canceled, including its main rival, the Cannes Film Festival.
The director of the festival, Alberto Barbera, described the event as “a kind of test” for the film industry, which is slowly recovering its balance, with some productions resumed and the reopening of cinemas, even when the cases of Covid-19 they continue to increase in many parts of the world.
In Italy, the festival was also seen as a sign of hope and normalcy for the first country in Europe hit by the global crisis.
However, the big-budget blockbusters that premiered in Venice in years past were missing, as was the group of Hollywood celebrities, who have fans screaming for autographs on the sidelines of the red carpet.
Instead, the 2020 version was decidedly low-key, with about half the usual number of attendees, fewer movies, and theater seats that were staggered to respect social distancing.
Masks were mandatory, hand sanitizer plentiful, temperatures were taken upon entering the festival grounds, and ubiquitous red signs warned attendees to respect coronavirus measures.
– Winner street kid –
The grand prize of the festival jury was awarded to New order (New Order) by director Michel Franco, an unshakable look at a dystopian Mexico.
Kiyoshi Kurosawa of Japan won a Silver Lion for his wartime espionage thriller Spy No Tsuma (Wife of a spy).
Vanessa Kirby of Great Britain, best known for the Netflix series The crown won best actress for her performance in Pieces of a woman by Kornel Mundruczo about a home birth that goes wrong.
The best actor award went to Italian star Pierfrancesco Favino in Stepfather (Our father).
A special award for young talents was given to Rouhollah Zamani of Majid Majidi’s Khorshid, (Sun Children), on working children in Iran. Zamani, a 12-year-old chosen street boy, was unable to attend the festival after testing positive for coronavirus.
Last year, jester from American director Todd Phillips took home the Golden Lion and, in a controversial election, Roman Polanski won second Grand Jury Prize for An officer and a spy
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