Wanda (film)

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DVD cover
Directed by Barbara Loden
Produced by Harry Shuster
Written by Barbara Loden
Starring Barbara Loden
Michael Higgins
Cinematography Nicholas Proferes
Edited by Nicholas Proferes
Release dates
Running time
102 min.
Country U.S.A.
Language English

Wanda is an independent 1970 drama film that was written and directed by Barbara Loden, who also stars in the title role. It is set in the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania.


Wanda, after a string of abusive relationships, abandons her family and seeks solace in the company of a petty criminal (Michael Higgins).


The film is improvisational in style and meditative in nature, similar to the works of European directors like Robert Bresson. It is seldom seen, but strongly admired. Loden, the wife of director Elia Kazan, died from cancer before she had an opportunity to make another film. But the legacy of Wanda, one of the very few American feature films directed by a woman at that time, endures.

The film has been cited as a favorite by filmmaker John Waters, who presented it as his annual selection within the 2012 Maryland Film Festival.

Further reading[edit]

  • Melton, Ruby, "Barbara Loden on Wanda—'An Environment that Is Overwhelmingly Ugly and Destructive'", Film Journal v. 1, no. 2 (summer 1971), pp. 11–15.
  • Reynaud, Bérénice, “For Wanda”, in The Last Great American Picture Show, Thomas Elsaesser, Alexander Horwath and Noel King, eds, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2004, 223-247 <also published in Senses of Cinema>

External links[edit]