Manuel Asín speaks about Barbara Loden


15 December | 16:30h | Teatro Principal


Wanda is the first and only feature film directed by Barbara Loden. Loden, who finished Wanda at the age of 38, died ten years later while working on the project for a new movie.

Before Wanda, Loden had developed a career in modelling, dancing, and acting for theatre and TV. As for the big screen, she only acted in the films directed by her second husband, Elia Kazan. This is how she described the experience of arriving to New York as a 16-year-old without a dime, escaping a poor ugly village in North Carolina: “I spent every day just walking and walking, and I didn’t really know what I was going to do”.
She was inspired to make the film by something that caught her eye one day while reading the newspaper: it was the story of a woman that, after being on trial for helping a bank robber, thanked the judge that sent her to jail. The film is a contestation of the conditions that make it plausible for a woman to actually be in the place of saying thanks for something like that.

Loden spent half of her life with Kazan, but in the last years of the relationship she wanted to end their marriage. The breast cancer that eventually took her life put an end to the divorce proceedings. In his memories, Kazan wrote that he too wanted the divorce, because Barbara had neglected the housework after her first experience as a filmmaker and he was a traditional man.

Since we will be approaching this film in the context of a film festival, as part of a section named For the Very First or the Very Last Time, I want to encourage the participants in this session to think about what making this film meant for the author. What could have meant for someone like Barbara Loden –given the circumstances of her background and her environment– achieving to make a first film that was also her last.

Manuel Asín is coordinator of the cinema area of Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid. He has curated cycles for Filmoteca Española, MNCARS, CCCB, Festival de Sevilla, Zinebi, Instituto Moreira Salles, etc. He has published articles in magazines such as Trafic, Blogs & Docs or Caimán Cuadernos de Cine, where he is a member of the editorial board. He is the author of the edition and the prologues of two books on the films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet: Escritos (2011) and Hacer la revolución es también volver a colocar en su sitio cosas muy antiguas pero olvidadas (2016). He is part of the teaching team of Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (San Sebastián) and Master LAV (Madrid). He has been director of the distributor and publisher of books and DVDs Intermedio (2011-2015).