There are many uncommon inclusions in Nomadland (2020), but I want to draw your attention to just three noteworthy ones today. Firstly it is one of the very few feature films in which women appear without makeup intended to make them look more attractive to men. Most of the female characters look like they aren't wearing any makeup at all. Secondly it boasts at least three named female characters with lines that are over sixty, including the protagonist, 63-year-old Frances McDormand. The third inclusion occurs more than halfway through in a short scene in which McDormand is performing janitorial duties. She is cleaning the mirror of a men's public restroom when a man walks in, and she tells him the restroom is closed (for cleaning). He ignores her completely, walks to the stall next to her and begins urinating without acknowledging her in any way. It is obvious that she is uncomfortable, and she leaves before he finishes, clearly not wishing to remain in the restroom with this rude, inconsiderate man.
None of these inclusions receive attention from any of the characters. They do not comment on the absence of makeup, the women's ages or the man's lack of regard for a woman in a public restroom. However, these inclusions merit our attention. The screenplay was written by Chloé Zhao, based on a book by Jessica Bruder, and was also directed by Zhao. It is not an insignificant detail that women were instrumental in making this film. Female filmmakers tend to portray female characters more realistically than their male counterparts. Their female characters tend to be treated better. Female filmmakers are also much more likely to focus on men's blameworthy behaviour towards women. It's a film that is definitely worth a watch.
Copyright © 2021 Alline Cormier
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