The Westward movement — and a woman’s perspective of that movement — emerges in the dramatic story of Delilah Fowler’s first year on the Kansas frontier in 1869. Based on diaries of the period, the program reveals the cruel violence, and even crueler loneliness, which early settlers encountered — but above all, it shows the quiet courage of those who lived it. Filmed on location in Kansas, starring Barbara Loden, who also directed the film. Read More »
Wanda is a 1970 American independent drama film written and directed by Barbara Loden, who also stars in the title role. Set in the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania, the film focuses on a lone female protagonist with limited options for a better life. Wanda was chosen for the 31st Venice International Film Festival where it won the Pasinetti Award for Best Foreign Film. A restored version of the film was screened out of competition at the 67th Venice International Film Festival in 2010.
In 2017, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. Read More »
Winner of the Critics Prize in Venice in 1970, Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970) was, as the New York Times meekly puts it, “a critical hit but failed to create excitement at the box-office” (New York Times, September 6, 1980, 261).
Shot in cinema-verité style on grainy 16mm film stock, Wanda tells the story of the unlikely partnership between a coal-mining wife from Pennsylvania (played with sensitivity and brio by the filmmaker herself), dumped by her husband and the men she met while drifting, and a petty crook on the rebound (Michael Higgins), who convinces her to pull a major “bank job” with him. The film was released in one theatre in New York, Cinema II, and never shown in the rest of the country (Interview, Proferes). Ten years later, Wanda was “already forgotten in the United States,” but “much admired in Europe” (Kazan, 1988, 807). It was screened in the “Women and Film” event at the 1979 Edinburgh Film Festival and in Deauville in 1980. Loden died of cancer on September 5, 1980, “the day [she was] booked to fly to Paris-Deauville. Her death was announced from the stage of the Festival” (Kazan, 1988, 809). Read More »