A remarkable one-off from Elia Kazan’s wife, Barbara Loden. Shot in 16mm and blown up to 35mm, it’s a subtly picaresque movie about the wanderings of a semi-destitute American woman. Directing herself, Loden manages to make the character completely convincing in her lack of direction and amorality, yet also sympathetic and even heroic. After a desultory involvement with a bank robber, Wanda botches everything and our last glimpse of her is back on the road, being picked up in a bar. The film is all the more impressive or its refusal to get embroiled in half-baked political attitudinising: it’s good enough to make one regret that the director /star produced nothing else before her untimely death from cancer.

U.S.A., 1970.

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