Cai Xia: American Spirit: Love, Independence and Freedom

Zhao Ting’s “Land of the Unwanted” (also known as “Nomadic Life“) has won a series of world-class film awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Director and Best Picture in the Drama category.

The film illustrates the diversity of life and meaning through the heroine’s way of living. The film extends its artistic perspective to people on the margins of society, exploring and listening to the deepest voices of humanity by showing the lives of these people. The film does not say the word “freedom”, but what runs through the film from beginning to end is the pursuit of independence and freedom, a soul with a rich heart, extremely delicate and even sensitive.

People are lonely, that is, in the crowd, or even in the busy and noisy world. This kind of loneliness is not isolation from society, but means that almost all souls in the world are “this one”, and it is almost impossible to meet two identical souls. But human nature is common, so the tension between the loneliness of the soul and the warmth of human nature is expressed in the film with a lot of wordless and even silent “details” to convey. I watched the film on my cell phone, and even with such modest viewing facilities, I was still deeply moved. From the film, I deeply felt the warmth of humanity, the love expressed in the film: understanding, tolerance, respect and mutual help; from the film, I felt and approached the loneliness of the soul, loneliness is actually independent and unique “this one”, which is one with freedom. The film expresses the American spirit: love, independence and freedom, which have deep roots in American society.

The warmth of humanity is conveyed to the viewer through the various scenes in which Vern and the road tribe meet at the camp; the loneliness of her soul makes her always keep a distance from the people and even her relatives with whom her life is intertwined. This loneliness is not loneliness, but the retention and perseverance of the freedom of the soul. This film must be savored and chewed carefully. The film plucked the heartstrings, but not the great joy and sorrow type, is the kind of vague touch, including a trace of warmth, hidden pain, regret …….

The essence of the soul is freedom, to get rid of all restraints and pursue the state of life you like. It is worth thinking that both Vern and Dave, despite their financial pressures, are not helplessly on the road.

Fawn can live with her sister, Dave with his son’s Family, and Dave wants to live with her. Dave’s daughter-in-law also likes Vern. Vern could have chosen to stay, either at Dave’s place or at her sister’s house. But Vern chose to be on the road.

Human freedom is, in the end, the freedom to choose, to hold fast to the freedom of one’s own choice, so that the soul has true freedom …….

This film is not sad and does not show the darkness of human nature, which is different from many works, and this I like. The film does not interpret the road from the Chinese understanding of politics, so the so-called one argument is that the film lacks a sense of social criticism; and the other argument from the perspective of “socialist” ideology is that the film criticizes American capitalism, the elderly can not afford their own retirement. The gap between the rich and the poor in American society is huge.

These two types of statements, in my opinion, are very shallow and superficial interpretations, even “imaginary readings”. The development of contemporary high technology has made politics inseparable not only from human life, but also from all life forms other than human beings. But the political dimension is still the superficial layer of each person’s feeling of life, first of all, the feeling of individual self-life. In this respect, art is the deepest inquiry, dissection and reflection on life, and it never stops.

Love and death are the eternal themes of art, and they are also communicated to the viewer through the film’s fragmentary moments, in a very patient and introspective manner, not even talking about them. Therefore, the film is not composed by storytelling but by fragments one by one. Love, death and freedom, the core of human life, are fused together in this film in her own way.

Love and death often constitute the story of life, the experience of life. Many people and many stories, the world is full of people, life is colorful and wonderful. But sometimes love dies in a hurry, the soul is lost, or did not keep up, the show is only the shell and veneer of life. But the soul is always the carrier of love and hate, life and death as the stage, depending on which layer you personally experience your own life resides in. All the artists’ art works impress or not impress people, on the one hand, depends on their power of thought and spiritual realm, first of all, to which layer they understand and which layer they trace, and then to which layer their artistic power decides whether they can show it or not. Compared with political science, I thought that excellent and outstanding artists and art critics are the ones with the most depth of thought.

This film is not a melodrama or a feature film, it is an art film. It reminds me of Jia Zhangke’s “That Mountain, That Man, That Dog”. One more thing: Jia Zhangke’s “That Mountain, That Man, That Dog” and Zhao Ting’s “Homeless” are very different in terms of their respective styles of lighting and color tone.

Finally: Homeless and Houseless are not the same thing at all.