Nomad ★★★★½

One of the most mesmerizing distillations of youth ever constructed, and so much more, Patrick Tam's Nomad is a revelatory look at modern society that masterfully wields the right-of-passage motif to deliver a subversive, precisely crafted investigation into existential notions of what it means to live. The foundations of modernity are ones of conditioning, and what Nomad does so effectively and distinctly with the right of passage motif is he posits society itself as the flawed enterprise instead of placing the blame on vague notions of naivety, inexperience, or progressive growth afforded to youth during their transition. The abrupt tonal shift is intentionally disorienting but extremely effective, and in the denouement, Tam's thematic aims come into focus. The problem is structural - society and the way it has been constructed lends itself to pain and conflict and has become far too far removed from our foundational impulse - love/longing/pleasure. Tam's Nomad questions whether subjugation by economic and socially constructed arenas made us lose sight of how we truly want to live. The search for utopia, in a sense. The more films of Patrick Tam I experience, the more I question how a filmmaker this spectacular has largely been forgotten (at best) or ignored.