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Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” is Getting a Cinema Release in China

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Chloé Zhao’s masterful film Nomadland — led by Frances McDormand and a cast of real life “houseless” people — is set for a limited run in Chinese cinemas ahead of the Academy Awards.

The movie, which is hotly-tipped to do well at this year’s Oscars, will be in Chinese theaters “starting April 23 through the country’s arthouse cinema circuit, according to information published on the government-backed distributor China Film’s website,” reports Variety. That would mean it’d be showing to Chinese audiences just three days before the Academy Awards takes place.

Update: Following Zhao’s wins at the Golden Globes, a Chinese-language poster for the film’s release has been shared, with the awards at the top (plus those won at the Venice and Toronto film festivals) and the text, “A work by Chinese director Chloe Zhao.”

nomadland china chloe zhao

A Chinese poster for Nomadland

Zhao — an indie film darling who will helm Marvel’s forthcoming Eternals blockbuster — picked up a Golden Lion for Nomadland at the Venice Film Festival in September last year and just made history by becoming the most-awarded filmmaker in a single awards season.

Related:

100 Films to Watch to Help You Understand China

Zhao was born in Beijing and went to school in London and LA before studying filmmaking in New York. She won critical acclaim for her first two feature films, 2015’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me and 2017 drama The Rider, both of which were filmed in South Dakota.

Inspired by the nonfiction book of the same name by Jessica Bruder, Nomadland follows Fern (McDormand) across the American West as she lives “a life outside of conventional society” out of a van, after the economic collapse of her small hometown in Nevada. As with Zhao’s previous work, the film features non-professional actors — in this case, “real nomads” — whose stories are woven into its plot.

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of RADII and Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for the Associated Press, The Wire, the Financial Times and more.