I wrote about this extraordinary movie for the Guardian here when it was screened at the London Film Festival two years ago. This rare screening will be introduced by Isabelle Huppert.
New Yorker review:
The actress Barbara Loden’s only film as a director, from 1970, is a harrowing, epiphanic masterwork. She also stars as the title character, Wanda Goronski, a pallid wraith in an anthracite landscape. Reduced to apathy by the drudgery and banality of a mining town, she flees her husband and young children and rides off with a buttoned-down, steely-eyed drifter (Michael Higgins). Unbeknownst to her, he is a robber on the run as well as a fussy, domineering brute who improves her manners and her wardrobe even while launching her on a criminal path. Though suspicious from the start, Wanda is ready for anything that makes her feel alive—and the movie matches her in audacity and sensibility. Loden’s indelible depiction of Wanda’s degradation, resistance, and resignation blends intense psychological realism with a spontaneous, quasi-musical mastery of form. Her rough-grained images, with their attention to place, light, and detail, have an intimate, sculptural texture; they seem to bring matter to life and to glow with the characters’ inner radiance.
Here (and above) is a video essay by Adrian Martin and Cristina Alvarez Lopez.