Chloé Zhao’s latest film tops Cannes

Zhao's films incorporate her signature dreamy visual style and use nonprofessional actors to heighten character realism.

By Keely Savoie

“The Rider,” the latest film by Chloé Zhao ’05, took the top prize at the Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight.

The film, featuring a cadre of non-professional actors and shot in Zhao’s signature dreamy visual style, tells a fictionalized tale of a South Dakota rodeo rider who sustains a head injury. Her first feature film, “Songs My Brother Taught Me,” also set in South Dakota, premiered to acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Festival.

Called a “rare gem” in a “Hollywood Reporter” review, “The Rider” is a continuation of Zhao’s efforts to tell complex stories of authentic struggle and redemption and exploring questions of belonging and home, character and commitment.

While at Mount Holyoke College, Zhao majored in politics with a minor in film studies.

Where will you ride? Learn more.