Wanda (1970)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Road Movie, Feminist Film  |   Release Date - Sep 1, 1970 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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One of a handful of 1970s women's films directed by a woman, Wanda (1970) is a low-key study of a mining-town housewife who wants a little more out of life. Actress/writer/director Barbara Loden's deceptively passive Wanda seems to be a lost soul, as she wanders through coal yards in her curlers, yet she gets a divorce and strikes out on her own, ending up with Michael Higgins' criminal Dennis. Even as he makes her over and she hits the road with him, her inarticulateness becomes her means of resistance, manifesting the paradox faced by women who want to be more than a wife, in a culture that provides few alternatives. This subtle study of character and situation unstintingly reveals the grim reality of Wanda's existence, free of easy solutions or pat conclusions. Produced independently and shot on 16 mm film blown up to 35 mm for distribution, Wanda received accolades at film festivals and in limited arthouse runs, especially for its thoughtful performances.