Screen/Society--Precarious Living--"Wanda" (1970) New Restoration
(Barbara Loden, 1970, 103 min, DCP)
In her first and only feature film, Barbara Loden pulls off a remarkable writer-director-star turn in Wanda, a film about a directionless young mother in Pennsylvania coal country who wanders away from her young family and finds herself alone, drifting between dingy bars and motels, and callously treated by a series of men – including perhaps the least charismatic bank robber in movie history. Loden was herself born poor in Marion, North Carolina, and her film is a starkly verité look at the bleak options for working class women seeking to give patriarchy the slip in rural 70s America. A singular, downbeat masterpiece of American cinema, rarely seen but highly influential, this brand new 4k restoration is not to be missed.
“I came from a rural region, where people have a hard time. They don't have time for wittily observing the things around them. They're not concerned about anything more than existing from day to day."
“They're not stupid. They're ignorant. Everything is ugly around them — the architecture, the town, the clothing they wear. Everything they see is ugly."
“It's the same in Detroit,” she went on. “They work in the factories to make all those ugly cars that don't last so they can get paid to buy a few of those ugly cars and to buy the things that others are making in other factories—own a color television. It's a whole aspect of America.”
“Do you have any answer?”
“No,” Miss Loden said quietly. “Just to change the whole society.”
Sponsored by the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image (AMI).
Screen/Society screenings are free and open to the public.
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