Skip to main content
Wanda film image


This event has passed

A very rare screening for Barbara Loden’s only film as director, a forgotten masterpiece which as only recently taken its rightful place in the canon. Loden was an actress protege of Elia Kazan (she became his wife), but her handful of film roles can only hint at the sensitivity and depth which bloomed in this vérité-style portrait of an inarticulate country girl – played by Loden herself – who takes up with a petty thief (“It’s the anti-Bonnie and Clyde“, Loden said).

Opportunities for women in directors in Hollywood were almost non-existent for most of the studio era (actress Ida Lupino was a notable exception). In the 70s things began to change, but painfully slowly. In our Ragged Glory: Summer in the 70s season we feature films directed by Elaine May (A New Leaf, The Heartbreak Kid and Mikey and Nicky), Joan Tewkesbury (Old Boyfriends), and Claudia Weill (Girlfriends), as well as important films centred on women, like Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence, Jane Fonda in Klute and Sally Field in Norma Rae, but for the most part American movies in this era remained a boys’ club.

A revelation… Here was an American movie that picked up where Italian neorealism had left off, applying its moral principles and aesthetics to rural American backwaters, with an absence of the sentimentality that had derailed so many postwar European films. Here was an American depiction of outlaws that refused to glamorize (think of Wanda as Loden’s retort to Bonnie and Clyde and to Faye Dunaway’s Bonnie as a fashion icon). And most importantly, here was a feminist film that made visible a woman who had internalized society’s contempt for her so deeply that it was impossible for her to speak or act for herself.

Amy Taubin

Writer-director-actor Barbara Loden’s 1970 feature has a wonderful, hard-won sense of everyday rapture.

Chuck Bowen, Slant

If there is a female counterpart to John Cassavetes, Barbara Loden is it.

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Wanda is precisely the kind of independent, deeply personal project that American film making badly needs.

Jay Cocks, Time (1971)


Barbara Loden


Barbara Loden, Michael Higgins

Country of Origin






103 min

Book Tickets

This event has passed.



Harry Shuster


Barbara Loden


Nicholas T. Proferes


Nicholas T. Proferes

More Films in This Series

Dog Day Afternoon

Based on a true story of a New York bank robbery which turned into a hostage siege (and a media spectacle), Sidney Lumet's gripping movie showcases a bravura performance from Al Pacino as the homosexual, married, unhappy, decent, confused bank robber.

VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre


The biggest hit from the 70s phase of Brian De Palma's career, Carrie takes Stephen King's horror novel about a troubled telekinetic teen and weaves it into a purely cinematic rhapsody of angst and (retali-)elation, what Pauline Kael termed "a terrifyingly lyrical thriller".

VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre

All the President's Men

This gripping account of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigation into the Watergate break-in is a masterclass of cinematic craft from director Alan J Pakula (Klute; The Parallax View) and DP Gordon Willis (The Godfather).

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

Phantom of the Paradise

De Palma’s delirious mash-up of Phantom of the Opera, Faust, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and 70s glam-rock is the musical/horror/comedy freak-out that Rocky Horror wanted to be.

VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre

The Parallax View

The most lucid and ingenious, the most deeply, creepily satisfying of paranoia thrillers, Alan J. Pakula's film posits an assassination corporation. Reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) is on to Them, or so he believes…

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre


A passion project for producer-star Warren Beatty, this frothy boudoir comedy of Beverly Hills manners views its hairdresser hero's bed-hopping with a certain sadness. Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie, Lee Grant and Carrie Fisher come along for the ride.

VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre