Wanda Screen 10 articles

Wanda

1970

Wanda Poster
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    The Village Voice: Andrew Sarris
    March 18, 1971 | The Village Voice Film Guide (pp. 294-296)

    ...The movie seems at an end but keeps starting up again and again until it is mercifully extinguished in a freeze framd and all in all it is the extraordinary good fortune of Barbara Loden the director to have had Barbara Loden the actress to manipulate iwth such impulsive immediacy.

  • 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”.

  • The most striking thing about “Wanda” is its textures: the grain of cheap wood in a ramshackle house, the cold metal of a coffee shop and the marble of a bank, the dank warmth of a grim hotel room, and, of course, the skin of its people, with all its power to allure and to revolt, come through with a jolting physical power. The handheld cinematography by Nicholas Proferes, despite its agility, has a sculptural relief that amplifies the sense of uneasy intimacy.

  • 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.

  • The prints of Wanda that have circulated over 40 years have a kind of dishwater palette that Loden didn't intend; the restoration has revealed a much more vivid and variant chromatic range. With the square aspect ratio of 16 mm preserved, Wanda's somnambulent, nomadic journey plays out like a hazy dream rendered in 24 vintage Polaroids a second.

  • WANDA is a masterpiece of independent filmmaking that portrays what is rarely found onscreen—the true experience of a woman's life.

  • Barbara Loden died of breast cancer ten years after making Wanda — a debut which feels incredibly close to the writer, director, actress; a debut which is a cumulative expression and hopefully, liberation of herself.

  • In its cinéma vérité style, it is a raw and innovative view of a woman who goes against what society expects of her. There’s no uplifting theme or a glimmer of hope for Wanda’s character and she ends up right where she began, alone and disconnected.

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    Sight & Sound: Isabelle Huppert
    September 07, 2015 | October 2015 Issue (p. 24)

    It is such an extraordinary movie... What's so interesting is that this very realistic, very simple story is told in such a way that you can also read it as something more metaphorical – to do, perhaps, with Loden's own relationship both to the cinema and to a man, Kazan, whom she may have felt was stealing from her. And because it can be read in that way, the film becomes more conceptual and more universal in its relevance.

  • Wanda incontestably ranks among the cinema’s greatest masterpieces. Although often aligned with the work of John Cassavetes and his many imitators, Loden’s sole feature—she died from cancer in 1980, leaving behind several unmade projects—functions almost as the inverse of films like A Woman Under the Influence (1974); where Cassavetes’s style is explosive and hysterical, Loden explores a sullen, implosive energy. And the imploding star at the center of this movie is the character of Wanda.

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