Now See This: Wanda @The Frida Cinema

Wanda (courtesy of Janus Films)

In 1970, at a time when no women were allowed to direct mainstream Hollywood films, female filmmakers pushed forward in independent and underground cinema.

Barbara Loden, who’d honed her directing and acting chops on the stage, was offered $100,000 to write and direct her own film. The result was a semi-autobiographical cinema vérité masterpiece (in which Loden also stars) about a coal miner’s wife who drifts through dive bars and motels and hooks up with unsavory men, including criminals who lure her into schemes and abuse.

Wanda’s wrenching look at a woman “stranded on society’s margins” won Loden the Venice Film Festival prize for Best Foreign Language Film in 1971.

Don’t miss this newly restored version by the woman The New Yorker called the “female counterpart to John Cassavetes.”

Wanda at the Frida Cinema, 305 E. 4th St., Santa Ana, (714) 285-9422; thefridacinema.org. Tues.-Wed., Aug. 28-29, 2:30, 5:30, 8 p.m. $7-$10.

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