Chloé Zhao’s wandering life portrait “Nomads” explores themes that are usually ignored in mainstream narrative films. How often does Hollywood investigate the scars of the Great Depression, the fragility of the performance economy or the gap in the social safety net?
However, according to film historians and gender equality advocates, it is almost unusual to see an American film centered on ordinary old women. In this case, by Oscar winner, 63-year-old Francis ·The independent madman named Fern played by Frances McDormand is shown in Hulu and some theaters on Friday. )
Alicia Malone, the host of Turner’s classic films, said: “It’s extremely rare to see a 60-year-old woman playing the lead role, especially a woman of the age that allows her to appear on the screen.” She was in The cinema has written two books about women.
“Hollywood has been a very aging place since ancient times. Since it became a commercial business, it must have been men at the helm, and women will be discarded when they reach a certain age,”
The movie industry usually chooses “men of a certain age” as romantic protagonists or action heroes. But Malone said that women over 50 tend to land as supports or one-dimensional parts, and major stars such as Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman may prove the rule. exception.
“When we see older women, they are in a sideline, there are a lot of stereotypes around them, and they are joking at the expense of them,” Malone said. “Very few people put them at the center of the story as viable, complex characters.”
In recent years, TV shows and limited series have become a safe haven for women over 50 who are looking for interesting roles, such as Viola Davis (“How to Get Rid of Murder”); Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin ) (“Grace and Frankie”) and Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”).
In a report released in September, the Annenberg Integration Project of the University of Southern California found that out of the top 100 movies in 2019, only three played the protagonist or deputy protagonist by a woman over 45 years old. Only one of them played color.
The previous year, researchers from the University of Southern California found that in the top 100 movies, 11 movies had women over 45 years old; and nearly a quarter (24 movies) had men over 45 years old. In a leading or auxiliary position.
Melissa Silverstein, founder of “Women and Hollywood”, an organization that advocates more integration into the film industry, said: “We don’t have enough movies about women, let alone those over 45. Women.” “It’s really hard to find, and it’s a problem.”
The “Nomads” broke McDormand’s character with a frank and compassionate vision. McDollman’s character drove the van to the open road after the death of her husband and the collapse of the factory town in Nevada in real life. Decades.
This film records McDormand’s character with a documentary intimacy. We saw her working hard in the Amazon warehouse. Clean the restrooms of the RV campground; connect with other wanderers (some of them are versions of non-professional actors playing themselves); she savors the beauty of nature as she travels through the western United States.
The cultural writer Jenna Scherer recently tweeted: “I think I *never* watched a movie about an elderly woman, which is about her relationship with herself, not her mother. , Grandmother, wise aunt, etc.”. “Looking at Frances McDormand spending time and space wandering and thinking, frankly, it’s such a pleasure to play.”
McDormand (McDormand) co-authored “Nomad”, he is one of a group of famous actors who advocate greater inclusiveness and fairness on and off the screen. (The movie was an independent production acquired by Disney-owned distributor Searchlight Pictures.)
In March 2018, McDormand won the Best Actress Award for her performance in “Three Billboards Outside Ebin, Missouri”. She rallied for “Inclusive Riders”, which artists can use to request works More diverse contract provisions.
Since at least the end of 2017, there has been a special review of the relative lack of career opportunities for women and people of color, when the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements began to reshape the work culture of entertainment and media.
Gender imbalance also persists behind the camera. “Nomads” director Zhao Decheng won praise from the new Western drama “The Driver” in 2017, and will appear in the Marvel universe with the upcoming “Eternal Man”. He is one of the few high-profile female filmmakers in contemporary Hollywood one.
As a Chinese-American, Ms. Zhao is also one of the few female directors of color that continues to grow on the studio tour. In an analysis published in January 2020, the University of Southern California’s integration program found that out of the 1,300 top-grossing films released from 2007 to 2019, only 13 were made by underrepresented women of race or ethnicity. Director’s.
McDormand once said that she is very happy to work with Zhao. Zhao is also committed to a project around a real American woman rarely seen in the mass media.
“What if I look in the mirror and cannot recognize myself as the woman represented in fashion magazines and movies? What if that stops me? McDonald’s said at a September press conference: “There are many assumptions, but I Part of the realization of the American Dream is working with people like Chloé Zhao. “
Film critic and corporate governance expert Nell Minow said that she believes that during the coronavirus pandemic, small-scale and women-led projects can use more cultural oxygen because leading studios are forced to Postponed the release of many blockbuster films dominated by men.
Mino said: “In many ways, it is the wealth of more intimate movies like’Nomads.'” He was referring to Channing Godfrey People’s “Miss June 16th” and La Da Blanc’s “The 40-year-old version”, these are examples of projects hosted by women. It was welcomed last year.
Minow said: “I have realized that all the multimedia I consume requires me to transform from a male perspective into something that speaks to me more directly.” “When I watch these movies, I can relax. I don’t have to translate anything. .”
She said: “At this point,’Expression is important, it’s a cliché, but it makes me feel connected and listening to others because I have something in common with these characters.”
Chinese medicine host Ma Long said that audiences should consider the precious human stories deprived of the gender imbalance in the film industry.
“When you consider how many older women have been erased from Hollywood, it also makes you consider not experiencing their stories, all their life experiences, their wisdom, humor and vitality on the big screen,” she said.