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Chloe Zhao’s ‘Nomadland’ Cleared for China Release

The Hollywood Reporter logo The Hollywood Reporter 4 days ago Patrick Brzeski

Chloé Zhao’s Oscars favorite Nomadland has been given the green light for a limited theatrical release in China.

The neo-Western’s pacing and themes would usually make for a challenging fit for China’s commercially driven film market, but the director’s Chinese origins — and the acclaim her work already has received — have generated excitement among some Chinese film buffs.

Nomadland will be released through the National Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas (NAAC), a government-backed organization that releases independent films in China with the support of major local exhibitors.


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A source at one of the exhibitors that backs the NAAC told The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday that the film has received official permission for a limited release, but an exact date hasn’t been set.

In recent years, the NAAC has made a habit of importing and releasing major Oscars contenders just prior or after the Academy Awards ceremony. Past releases by the organization have included Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ($10.3 million), Manchester by the Sea ($1.2 million) and Bohemian Rhapsody ($14 million), as well as numerous Chinese and European arthouse films.

Based on Jessica Bruder’s 2017 nonfiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First CenturyNomadland is Zhao’s third feature film, following the critically acclaimed Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Rider. Born in Beijing, Zhao attended New York University’s film school and now resides in the U.S. She recently directed the upcoming Marvel film The Eternals.

Nomadland follows Fern (Frances McDormand), a widow who leaves her small town to explore life outside of conventional society. THR’s critic David Rooney called the film “a powerful character study of a different kind of freedom fighter.”

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