Bealtaine: Nomadland   film finished

(Dir: Chloe Zhao, USA, 2020, 108 min)

Starring Frances Mc Dormand and David Strathairn

Left with nothing but a broken heart, widowed Fern (Frances McDormand), a former substitute teacher, finds herself forced out of her home in Empire, Nevada, when the local US Gypsum plant closed the mine, and with it, the town, in 2011. Faced with a bleak economic future, Fern crams her scanty, memory-laden belongings into a beat-up, second-hand van and hits the road, travelling from town to town, state to state, in search of work opportunities. As dignified Fern adopts a nomadic, hand-to-mouth lifestyle, along the way, she meets other kindred spirits, silver-haired, fellow modern-day nomads, whose entire generation suffered a crippling blow after the 2008 financial collapse. But, when the world is collapsing around you, and memories are all we have left, is home just a word?

This Oscar-winning film starring the incomparable Frances McDormand, in a performance that recalls her formidable Mildred in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, with the hugely watchable actor adding nuance and grit to the character of Fern, a woman disappointed by life’s hand, choosing to hit the road as a nomad.

Chloe Zhao won the Best Director Oscar for this beautiful, quiet portrait of the motley lives and journeys of America’s transients, people who for one reason or another choose the open road, the huge skies and their small mobile spaces for life out of the mainstream. Featuring real nomads drawn from Jessica Bruder’s original book, this glimpse of hardship, the gig economy, chances of love, fortune and kindness make for an unforgettable cinema experience.

Presented as part of Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival – Ireland’s national celebration of the arts and creativity as we age.

Admission: free, but booking is essential.