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Fern wanders the west in her van.  Here she spends time with her fellow travelers stopping at a van-park.  Paul Goldfinger photograph from the TV. 2021.

 

 

Francis McDormand stars in this bare bones film: Nomadland. Paul Goldfinger photo from the TV.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor. Blogfinger.net

Nomadland is a very basic film, almost monotonous in its tone.   It is shot mostly in low light and is permeated by a feeling of sadness.  Yet, as you watch the “story” unfold, you learn about how a person, alone, can make a life on the road with hardly any money and no significant support systems.

The people depicted in this film  live in small tight vans which sometimes have no heat.  She is a member of a subculture of singles who roam from place to place and stay in transient camps where they tap into the way-of-life from which they  draw sustenance.

They all form a loose network where they lean on each other, but ultimately they are alone, and many prefer it that way. They spend time at various van-parks, but eventually they move on, perhaps meeting again in an indefinite future.

They are a species of man which has existed for thousands of years–they are nomads.

An example would be the archetypal cowboy of the frontier west—alone against the elements, facing dangers, but managing to survive moving from place to place with his horse and stopping at little towns for whiskey, food and women.

Fern is a middle aged widow who used to work at a factory in Nevada.  After her husband died and her workplace closed, she sold everything, bought a modest van, and  set out roaming the western states.  She finds a way to survive, picking up  seasonal  jobs along the way.  She makes friends, but they are all temporary and renewable.  She has barely enough room in her van to heat up some canned soup.

Fern interacts with people similar to her who have few material possessions but who try and find the best in others and who share their  meager existences.   They sit around a fire and sing songs and exchange stories, but it’s difficult  to ever feel really happy or satisfied. Sometimes they have barter or trading sales where they put out the simplest objects to provide a measure of variety and treasure.

Nomadland  truly has a slim plot, but the pieces fall together to create a world where humans can manage to survive with their humanity intact and somehow to find meager solutions to their hardships.  Fern is  barely able to maintains her sense of self, but she tries to do that as difficult as it is.  This effort stands out in the movie and reminds us how important it is to remain decent.

In one scene she meets a young man and she offers him one of her two sandwiches.  She has road friends, and they try to cheer each with simple gestures and objects such a ribbon in a woman’s hair.

Is it depressing?  It is, but you are drawn in and find richness, and somehow you appreciate the elements of what it means to be a person in a very elemental environment.

I was fascinated by this film, having been a fan of Francis McDormand ever since I saw her in Fargo.  And the themes appeal to me viscerally as it must do for most who see it.

Congratulations to Chloe Zhao, the brilliant film maker who wrote and directed the picture.  McDormand is one of the producers, and she is married to one of the Coen brothers–a duo of off-beat film makers well known in Hollywood.

So far, having recently opened, the film is winning all sorts of awards including Best Picture at the Golden Globes.  This is appropriate because this wonderful movie is profound and worthy of attention.    Nomadland  taps into the basic desire of people  to understand and help each other, whereas  the usual movie bill of fare seeks out violence, crime, sex, science fiction, horror, and pain.

This film would be timely in our society where we now tend to be more alienated from each other for a variety of reasons and maybe we forget to be kind and attentive to others.   A simple message.

I would show this film to a teen-ager. (Oh, yes, also an adult.)

It is now streaming on HULU.  You can sign for a free trial.

 

 

GILBERT O’SULLIVAN:

 

McGregor Blvd. Palm tree. Morning. Ft. Myers, Fla. By Paul Goldfinger

 

JACK TEAGARDEN:

Literary giants and literary girls out for coffee at Barnes and Noble.   No, the mural does not depict a scene from Woody’s Midnight in Paris.  But those literary figures on the mural  are reminiscent of that film.

 

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor  Blogfinger.net

 

Hemingway said:  “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

Joyce said,  “His heart danced upon her movements like a cork upon a tide. He heard what her eyes said to him from beneath their cowl and knew that in some dim past, whether in life or revery, he had heard their tale before.”

 

ALEXANDER DESPLAT——   from the movie Julie and Julia     “Leaving Paris.”

 

The comment is helpful to a motivated photographer.

November 3, 2012. Ocean Grove, New Jersey. One of the first fishermen to return. By Paul Goldfinger. Copyright. Click left for full view November 3, 2012.  5 days after Sandy.  Ocean Grove, New Jersey. One of the first fishermen to return. By Paul Goldfinger  ©. Re-posted from January,2013. Click for full view.  See the comments for some photographic notes.

SOUNDTRACK:   CAROL KING

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humma, humma, humma…..read on MacDuff.

Around town with Jean Bredin (Blogfinger.net staff) In Provincetown where boys will be boys and where girls will be boys. Around town with Jean Bredin (Blogfinger.net staff) in Provincetown where boys will be boys and  girls will be boys; and where the fine arts are really fine arts.  Click to read the bike ad. Re-post from 2016.

LORENZO FULLER from Kiss Me Kate:

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Peaky Blinders

Birmingham, England. Paul Goldfinger   Click to enlarge

Peaky Blinders is a BBC television series about an urban street gang living in the industrial city of Birmingham after WWI.

This photograph was taken from that series. This gritty neighborhood is where the gang lived, dominated, and fought many battles.   It is currently streaming.

THE BAND   “The Last Waltz”  The music, by a famous rock band, offers some beautiful waltz music to balance the grimy underbelly of Birmingham, England over 100 years ago.

Two generations..

 

Ft. Myers, Fla. Paul Goldfinger. The sight of the camera makes her smile.

 

 

STEPHEN SONDHEIM FROM COMPANY:    With Donna McKechnie

 

Paul Goldfinger photo at the market. This woman is selling sharp instruments for cutting vegetables. 3/5/21.  In the photo she was taking a quick breath from under her mask while waiting for another fascinated bystander. Click to enlarge

 

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net

Remember the Veggiematic?  I used to be mesmerized by the TV sales-people demonstrating those chopping, slicing, mincing miracle machines for the kitchen.

But this woman was selling two small handheld stainless steel tools made in Switzerland. She was putting on a show for folks walking by, asking, “Are you lefty or righty?” and then the fascinating spiel began.

I tried to interest Eileen in one–she’s a lefty.  But she was not interested saying, “I have one home with a plastic body and metal blades. Cost me $4.00 at William -Sonoma.”

Imagine that?  Something for $4.00 at William Sonoma?

This woman was helping herself to a quick nose-breather between customers when she spotted me.  Click on image to look into her eyes—remember, she’s a woman with two sharp tools in her hands.  Do you recall Lorena Bobbitt?

And I was also remembering  Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd, but she didn’t do the cutting. Yet she did cheer on Sweeny Todd and she made the pies.

And then the women at the guillotine, but they knitted and applauded as the merchants of death operating that huge cutting machine smiled as heads rolled  down the French hills;–a memorable memory (..and the memory lingers on as I sat in high school listening to this.)

But Stephen Sondheim prefers to think of women this way:

Pretty women . . .
Fascinating . . .
Sipping coffee . . .
Dancing…!
Pretty women . . .
Are a wonder. . .
Pretty women!

Sitting in the window! Or
Standing on the stair!
Something in them cheers the air . . .!
Pretty women . . .

 

JOHNNY DEPP AND ALAN RICKMAN.  “Pretty Women” from Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Chemical reaction..

 

Paul Goldfinger. M-9. 2021. ©

 

ESTER OFARIM      “Rakefet” in Hebrew from a collection of Israeli Folk Songs.

 

This olive and pickle woman was getting warm and she took off her shirt right before this photo was taken. There’s one more layer for later.  Paul Goldfinger. Re-post from Jan 8, 2020. Ft. Myers, Fla ©

Paul Goldfinger, Blogfinger foreign correspondent in Fla.

The weather is always a topic of conversation in southwest Florida.  This morning, at the Lakes Park Farmers Market, it was cool, and some were wearing jackets and sweaters as they explored the market.

“It’s like a July day in Wisconsin,” said a man hanging out of a food truck window and laughing.

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This Savannah honey was dressed for winter, including pocket warmers. Paul Goldfinger photo. 1/8/20 ©

The temperature was  60 degrees when we arrived at 9 am, but within the hour, it heated up to 67.  It would be 80 by noon, and the market closes at 1 pm.   Many people who come to this part of Fla are from the mid-west.  Jersey plates are a rare sighting.

One woman approached me as I was getting out of my car to tell me that she also was from New Jersey. She did not complain about the “cold” weather.

In the parking lot we met this character. He did not bark; only stared. Do you think he knew that I was Jewish?

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Farmers from Immokalee brought freshly picked produce at bargain prices.  Eileen bought a huge bunch of beautiful radishes for $1.00 and a large red pepper for $1.00 and 3 Japanese eggplants for $1.00.  The American dollar is strong in Florida.

There were vendors selling Argentinean food fresh cooked in a truck, mushrooms, olives, muffins, honey, spices, French pastries and breads, “New York” bagels and bialys, Madagascar crocheted straw hats,  Italian olive oil and balsamic vinegar, Vermont maple syrup, French fries cooked for you, Wisconsin cheese, and flowers.  Someone else was selling a certain kind of hot pepper that could cure prostate cancer.

MICHAEL GIACCHINO:    The”Main Theme” from the film Ratatouille.

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