Wanda, Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive, August 20-23 only! Each month, Ragtag and the Citizen Jane Film Festival spotlight a woman-directed film. Wanda is August’s Citizen Jane Suggests selection.
With her first and only feature film — a hard-luck drama she wrote, directed, and starred in — Barbara Loden turned in a groundbreaking work of American independent cinema, bringing to life a kind of character seldom seen on-screen. A rarely seen masterpiece that has nonetheless exerted an outsize influence on generations of artists and filmmakers, Wanda is a compassionate and wrenching portrait of a woman stranded on society's margins.
"As the African-American poet Audre Lord noted, the master’s house cannot be destroyed with the master’s tools. Wanda’s historical importance lies precisely at this junction: Loden wanted to suggest, from the vantage point of her own experience, what it meant to be a damaged, alienated woman – not to fashion a 'new woman' or a 'positive heroine.'" (Bérénice Reynaud, The Last Great American Picture Show – New Hollywood 1967-76 )
"Refusing to portray its heroine as either victim or enlightened proto-feminist, the film is a rarity for its (or any other) era... Wanda bears the rawness of its creator’s memories of barely making it out herself." (Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice