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. Set amid a soot-choked Pennsylvania landscape, and shot in an intensely intimate vérité style, the film takes up with distant and soft-spoken Wanda (Loden), who has left her husband, lost custody of her children, and now finds herself alone, drifting between dingy bars and motels, where she falls prey to a series of callous men—including a bank robber who ropes her into his next criminal scheme. An until now difficult-to-see 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.
Restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Restoration funding provided by Gucci and The Film Foundation.
Directed by Barbara Loden • 1970 • United States
Starring Barbara Loden, Michael Higgins
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 characte...
Directed by Katja Raganelli • 1980 • United States
Starring Barbara Loden
This documentary by Katja Raganelli, filmed in 1980, features an interview with WANDA director Barbara Loden and brief interviews with cinematographer Nicholas T. Proferes and acting teacher Paul Mann.
The following audio recording from April 2, 1971, is of director Barbara Loden speaking to students about the challenges of making one’s first film, as part of the Harold Lloyd Master Seminar series at the American Film Institute.