Chloé Zhao’s 2020 film Nomadland begins with a few sparse lines of text that set up an entire world of loss. A sheetrock plant in the real-life town of Empire, Nevada, shuts down in January 2011. In six months’ time, Empire’s zip code is discontinued. It’s a ghost town. A stable-seeming environment is revealed to be constantly in flux, sometimes with frightening and destabilizing speed.