POSITIF AT LINCOLN CENTER
Over on Web Exclusives page and coinciding with the Lincoln Center “Mavericks and Outsides: Positif Celebrates American Cinema” (beginning today), Jamie Stuart interviews Positif editor Michel Ciment about the magazine and also his long relationship with Stanley Kubrick.
One film that’s part of the Positif series is Barbara Loden’s Wanda, which was one of Filmmaker‘s 50 Most Important Independent Films back when we did that list in 1998. Long difficult to see, it was re-released on DVD a year or so ago and has been claiming its place as an inspiration for a new generation of independent filmmakers. Over at Hammer to Nail, director Mary Bronstein writes about the film.
In 1971, actress Barbara Loden made her directorial debut with Wanda, a work so uncompromising that it could easily pass as the paradigm example of American independent filmmaking. A Hollywood actress by trade (best known for her supporting role in Splendor in the Grass), Loden had no practical background or training in filmmaking when she landed on the idea of directing this intensely personal project. But her drive to realize it drove her to forgo looking for conventional studio financing, ignore sound judgment (most coming from her then husband, Elia Kazan), and simply throw herself face-first into the process. Made over the course of ten weeks, largely self-financed and shot on 16mm reversal film with a crew of only four people, Loden produced something brutally raw, relentlessly downcast and unapologetically small in scope. And so, after an auspicious premiere at the Venice Film Festival (where it won top prize), the film failed to obtain proper distribution and outside of one theatrical engagement in New York, disappeared from circulation almost entirely.
See Wanda as well as many other excellent American films, including Fingers, Keane, True Confessions, and The Honeymoon Killers.