Wanda

USA 1970. Dir: Barbara Loden. 103 min. DCP

“A harrowing, epiphanic masterwork.”
RICHARD BRODY, THE NEW YORKER

NEW RESTORATION! Named Best Foreign Film at Venice in 1970 but little seen or spoken about during its subsequent U.S. release, multi-hyphenate talent Barbara Loden’s first and only directed feature is now regarded as a ceiling-shattering masterpiece of American independent cinema. Set in a dreary, blue-collar town in Rust Belt Pennsylvania, this no-concessions character study stars Loden (also the film’s writer) as a listless, lonely woman who, after having left her husband, lost her job, and given up custody of her two kids, discovers she’s on a crime spree with an abusive lover. Loden, a Tony-winning actress with few prior screen credits (mostly for husband Elia Kazan), gives a riveting, wrenching, and altogether realistic performance as the at-times unsympathetic heroine. Wanda’s rough-hewn aesthetic and humanly flawed characters have drawn comparison to the work of American indie pioneer John Cassavetes. Isabelle Huppert and Kelly Reichardt are longtime champions of the film.


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REVIEWS

“A revelation ... The pity is that Loden never saw how her courage in making Wanda would be embraced by a generation that can see through Wanda’s eyes and understand that no one can afford the luxury of being ‘postfeminist.’”

Amy Taubin | full review

"Absorbing and thought-provoking ... We’re lucky to have [Kelly] Reichardt, who picked up Loden’s torch and kept it lit."

LA Weekly | full review