A Film Called “Wanda”

Don DeLillo has an essay in the Guardian about Barbara Loden‘s 1970 film Wanda, the only feature she ever made. You could probably guess who wrote the piece from the beginning:

Early in the film a woman in the shape of a white shadow moves in long shot across a bitter grey landscape of slag heaps and mining equipment.

Thought DeLillo largely discusses Wanda as a curiosity piece in American ’70s film—not noirish, not social-realist, not political, “the dark side of the moon of Bonnie and Clyde“—he also describes his experiences as a filmgoer at the time of Wanda‘s release. New York theaters were, for want of a better word, DeLillo-esque places:

I went to the movies on weekday afternoons, a movie on a dead afternoon, the merest scatter of people in attendance, always someone reading the Village Voice in the half murk before the house lights died. In many cases I can recall today where I saw certain movies back then, drifting from the New Yorker Theater one day to the Bleecker Street the next, alert and ever expectant, ready to be taken out of the day, the week, the plodding writer’s one-room life, and into a fold of discontinuous space and time.

I haven’t seen the film, which got a DVD release in 2006. There’s a lengthy excerpt on YouTube, though, that seems to get at how Wanda “worked against the grain of its time”:

2 thoughts on “A Film Called “Wanda”

  1. Mark–

    DeLillo’s ruminations on Barbara Loden and “Wanda” first appeared in the U.S., in the “Guilty Pleasures and Lost Causes” issue of the literary magazine Black Clock (# 4, Fall-Winter, 2005-06).

    Check out http://www.blackclock.org.

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