Tuesday, February 17, 2015

523. Wanda

Directed by Barbara Loden

I finally was able to find this film by exploring the darkest corners of the internet.  The copy I found could not be paused or fast forwarded.  About three-quarters way through the movie it stopped working and I had to start the entire thing over since I couldn't go back to where I was.  I didn't even want to see this movie once!  Ugh.  Let's just get through this.

Wanda is a very troubled woman who abandons her children, saying they will be better off with their dad.  She then ends up in several abusive relationships, including one with a bank robber.

I am not really sure what the point of this movie was?  Surely we were supposed to sympathize with Wanda, but she has got to be up there as one of the most annoying movie characters.  I am not even condemning her for leaving her children.  I am more irritated by her behavior at the restaurant.  Hands off other people's plate, bitch.  Good god, what does that say about me?

So for an hour and a half we have to follow around depressed woman making stupid choices.  You would think (or hope I suppose) that a female director would be a bit more progressive.  Definitely not the worth the hundreds of viruses I downloaded on my computer in my efforts to find this film.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Favorite of Creepy McCreepystein, also known as John Waters.

Directed by the wife of Elia Kazan.


  1. Amanda.. If you remain seriously stuck, let me know.
    I have a DVD copy I could post to you on loan. (my cost to send.. your cost to return) I don't know what region it is though... It is a home made copy

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  3. Hi Amanda, and welcome back.. I've missed seeing a post from you (but thanks to Rachel and others for dips into the archive)
    Glad you managed to track this down.. Likewise, it was a pain for me to find it. I ended up paying a really stupid amount for a VHS on Ebay, risking that i would be able to sell it on again to another mug/ sad git. (yes, I did, at only a relativly small loss)
    Sorry it was such a big miss for you as well.... I can see why, but beg to disagree - a bit.
    Using such an utterly unsympathetic lead as Wanda was quite a step - especialy as we are (I expect) supposed to sympathise and care about her.
    Very much the same thought .. one wonders just why.. and what was the idea behind the film? As you say "You would think (or hope I suppose) that a female director would be a bit more progressive" - especialy in the era this film came from. So I can give some major cudos to the director for NOT giving us a cut out stereotype 'in-ya-face' manifesto statement loaded film.
    A bold step.. and in doing so raises good, interesting points.
    How much of her situation is her own making.. Can we take the easy option and blame other people (ie the men she encounters).. Is that an excuse for her listless acceptance of all the crap that hits her.. is she so battered by life that's all she can do.. or is it mostly her own creation?
    I don't know..
    For sure, this film in not 'Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles', * but I don't believe that because the lead female is deeply flawed it is any betrayal or rejection of any feminist principles.

    * I don't think you have covered this one yet have you? I will be interested to see your view on it when you do.

  4. Hi Ray! I am not saying that Wanda had to be some paragon of virtue but this almost felt anti-feminist. The way Wanda is completely dependent on any man she happens across was pretty upsetting.

  5. I very much see your point Amanda.. and utterly see where you come from on that.. But ... A weak willed woman + dominating man do not necesarily make an anti feminist film.. or anti woman film.
    I mean...are all those Noirs with weak men being led astray by very strong (but bad) women.. anti men? No.. (in fact a reasonable argument can be made that they are anti feminist films)
    I readily admit I am not sure what point Barbara Loden was trying to make in this. I foud her plight distressing.. I found the behaviour of the men extreamly distressing, and yes, at times, as a man 'got at' by seeing so many of 'my' gender being shown as nasty brutes.. but.. Well, I don't think I can quite say I liked it.. I think it was one well worth seeing...

  6. I get what you mean. I really wish we knew what her point was. I wonder what Andrew thought. Just a side note, have you seen or heard of the movie Chappie? I am not sure that you would like it but I would love to hear your opinion on it.

  7. Never heard of 'Chappie' I'm afraid.
    So I just quickly looked at it on IMDb.. Immediate thiught is it's a rehash of Robo cop.. and will be lots of clumping robots blowing people up, which dosn't sound my sort of thing at all.. But it is by Neill Blomkamp, who did District 9. OK, that had it's share of shootings, but it was reasonable...
    Any special reason to encourage me to give it a look?
    Nice thought that you want my thoughts on something.. I feel complimemted..

  8. I tend to agree with Amanda here. I cannot see how this is a feminist film. Rather I see it as a movie about having to take responsibility of your own life or other people will abuse you. That is a message that applies to both men and women, so unless women are more prone to not take charge of their lives, which I think they are fully capable of, this is not a feminist movie.

  9. For some reason my posts seem to have become 'unknown'... I did have a hiccup when, for unknown reasons I had to sign back into my Google account, but ..
    Anyway, if anyone is in the least interested, the 'unknown' is probably me, as are several 'anon'...
    I will now see if this comes out as me or Mr 'unknown'