Monday, September 4, 2023

Out of Time

Wanda (1970) - Loden 965_image_01 Wanda, a waifish blonde woman, played by Barbara Loden who also wrote and directed, became the subject of discussion, with its fairly recent revival, on its nascent feminism. Can this passive woman, pushed about to and fro, who shows no urgency in her actions, be seen as a proto-feminist?

Wanda is first seen crashing on her sister's couch and getting kicked out by her unsympathetic brother-in-law. Then she is walking across the Pennsylvania coal field in her white dress. She shows up at a divorce court late and relinquishes her rights to her children and grants her husband the divorce. Then she gets fired from her job at the sewing factory. Her boss tells her that she works too slow. After one night stand with an older man, she is soon ditched at the road stop ice cream stand. After falling asleep in the movie theater and losing all of her belongings, she runs into Mr. Dennis, whom she first mistakes for a bartender, when in fact he was in the process of robbing the place. She clings to Mr. Dennis who is physically and verbally abusive to her, as they hit the road together. He has an elaborate bank robbing scheme that involves kidnapping that he needs Wanda's help with. She gets lost on her way to the bank and arrives too late and have Mr. Dennis killed in the process. Oops.

Wanda seems to be always late to the party: the divorce court, the sewing factory, at the bank robbery. It's as if she is consciously late (slow quitting). With her options in life being very limited, she seems to be holding on to her time as if it is her only resistance against the world that's expectant of her blonde female self. It's not an easy movie to like. After fighting off a rapist, she ends up in a pub where other females show her some solidarity and kindness, she still seems very lost and frightened in an unforgiving world at the end. Wanda is certainly an interesting one.