By Nadia Dalimonte
“I’m not the kind of filmmaker who just makes films. I have to be in love with my subject matter and want to learn more about it. Someone once said to me that passion doesn’t sustain, but curiosity does. I have to be excited by little things I discover along the way.” - Chloé Zhao speaking to Eric Kohn for @indiewire.
Nomadland. The Rider. Songs My Brothers Taught Me. Chloé Zhao is one of the most passionate and intriguing filmmakers of our time. Through her work, she explores sides of the American heartland that are vastly underrepresented. Her first two features, Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Rider, are celebrated dramas about marginalized people. Her latest feature, Nomadland, marks the first time Zhao has directed a movie star.
While the film includes a globally familiar face in Frances McDormand, the actor’s star power completely melts into real-life surroundings. Most of the people you’ll see in Nomadland are real nomads Zhao encountered on a spur of the moment while filming. McDormand plays Fern, a character who feels at home on the road. She’s like a voluntary guide for her natural setting. She is houseless, not homeless. Zhao, who also wrote and edited the film, creates a stirring gaze of the human life cycle in vast, beautiful landscapes. Nomadland is currently the highest rated film released this year, and deservedly so!
With numerous accolades already, the future looks extra bright for Zhao. Her next film is Marvel’s Eternals, a project surrounded in secrecy. Eternals is about a team of ancient aliens who have been secretly living on Earth for thousands of years. When an unexpected tragedy pushes them out of the shadows, they reunite against the world’s most ancient enemy, The Deviants.
“I’ve been a fan of the MCU for over a decade, so it makes sense for me to jump into a Marvel movie,” says Zhao. Fans will have to wait an extra year to see what she has in store. In a responsible decision given the pandemic, Eternals has been delayed to November 5, 2021. In the meantime, Nomadland will be released later this year on December 4.