In grim, rust-belt Pennsylvania, Wanda is down and out. She works sporadically, has abandoned her husband and children, sleeps on her sister’s couch, drinks and smokes too much, and goes home with men just to have a roof over her head.
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Wanda "is so moving because it reflects Loden's own sad destiny. It feels like a scream of someone just about surviving. I feel as if I identify with Wanda, in that she's both fragile and strong at the same time; she may be alone but deep down there is a real resistance in her. I find that very touching. I can't imagine such a film ever having been made by a man." -Isabelle Huppert
I can't shake this film. Not that I'm trying to. There are emotions and images from it so indelible that they begin to create a ghostlike, pared-down imprint in my mind, emerging when I least expect it...not unlike when you stare at a light bulb and then close your eyes...somehow, the filament from the bulb remains.
Just re-viewed on glorious gritty 35mm, and just after reading SUITE FOR BARBARA LODEN by Nathalie Léger. So difficult to view this film after reading the book, the book being a poetic inquiry into the life of this one-film wonder woman, so mysterious, a lost soul portraying a lost soul. Reeks of Cassavetes (shot by Proferes). Loden IS Wanda, and she declared she was the only person fit for the role. Heartbreaking.
The chance encounter between Wanda and Mr. Dennis is as ideologically cataclysmic as the one between Eddie Valiant and the cartoons in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a violent conceptual clash marrying DIY, low budget neorealist principles against the hard-boiled milieu found in the most pungent pulp stories and noir films, with a strong existential undercurrent providing the point of interaction. This is a great movie.
I found this film EXTREMELY HARD TO FIND, but am glad I finally watched it! This is a great example of cinema-verite and shows a dominant voice from an unsung filmmaker. It is truly a shame Barbara Loden never made another film after this!
A cinematic spiritual sister to Jeanne Dielman. Some of the most uncompromising torture porn I've ever seen. The open ending has me thinking not only the next steps of the characters but of my life and choices I make to define myself. Its easy for any of us to slip away...
everything about it looked gorgeous to me- every gesture and landscape of huge swathes of dirt, every heartbreaking yet funny piece of dialogue. the scenes unfurl in my dreams under cheap motel lights and cloudy skies.
Bonnie and Clyde devoid of artifice and glamour. Raw and authentic portrayal of female alienation. Wanda is entirely passive — a child experiencing the world for the first time, unable to make moral judgements because she does not have enough experiences to compare events with. Such a shame Loden was not able to direct more films.