Set in the heart of Pennsylvania coal country, WANDA is a deeply personal work and the sole directorial effort of Barbara Loden. The Appalachian-born director also writes and stars in this tale of what she describes as “an ugly type existence” that is seldom seen on film. The titular character leaves her husband and loses custody of her children, becoming a despondent drifter before running away with an un-glamorous bank robber who who ropes her into his next criminal scheme. This rarely-seen auteur piece—nonetheless influential to actors and directors such as Isabelle Huppert, John Waters, and Vincent Gallo—is now available to a new audience thanks to a recent restoration. WANDA is a groundbreaking work of Independent cinema, one of the most unique films of the 1970s, and a nuanced portrait of a woman living in the margins of society.
As novelist Marguerite Duras has said of WANDA, “”I believe there is a miracle in WANDA. Usually, there is a distance between representation and text, subject and action. Here that distance is completely eradicated.”