The rapturous response to the unveiling of “Nomadland” at the Toronto and New York Film festivals has catapulted director Chloé Zhao’s new film as an instant Oscar contender for Best Picture, Actress, Director, and Cinematography. The film’s subtle and moving score by Ludovico Einaudi has also received positive notices, but “Nomadland” and the Italian composer will not qualify for Best Score this awards season.
The reason is simple: Einaudi did not write the “Nomadland” music specifically for the film. Zhao used tracks from his previous albums, with much of it coming from a 2019 seven-album collection titled “Seven Days Walking.”
The music was inspired by hikes the prolific composer took in the Italian Alps. According the film’s press notes, Einaudi followed the same hiking path for seven days, but opened “himself up to the different emotions and stimuli he experienced while negotiating changing light, temperature, wildlife and weather conditions.” Each of the seven albums, titled “Day One” up to “Day Seven,” was music based on those different emotions.
Zhao, who served as her own editor on “Nomadland,” repurposed tracks from “Day One” and “Day Three” for her film. In the film’s press notes, Zhao said she was drawn to the music because she “set out to look for music inspired by nature.”
“A big part of Fern’s [Frances McDormand] evolution is learning to live with nature,” writes Zhao. “Living in a van, she becomes increasingly more exposed to nature – its beauty and hostility, its ability to replenish and to heal.”
“Seven Days Walking” features Einaudi on piano, Federico Mecozzi on violin and viola, and Redi Hasa on cello. Zhao also used tracks from Einaudi’s 2015 album “Elements,” and 2007 album “Divenire.”
Below is a Spotify playlist with all seven Einaudi tracks that appear in “Nomadland.”