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.
Wanda was restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Restoration funding provided by Gucci and The Film Foundation. – Criterion
New 2K digital restoration by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, The Film Foundation, and Gucci, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
I Am Wanda, an hour-long documentary by Katja Raganelli featuring an interview with director Barbara Loden filmed in 1980
Audio recording of Loden speaking to students at the American Film Institute in 1971
Segment from a 1971 episode of The Dick Cavett Show featuring Loden
The Frontier Experience (1975), a short educational film about a pioneer woman’s struggle to survive, directed by and starring Loden
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing