Barbara Loden is Wanda, as they say in the movies. Her inspiration for the screenplay was a newspaper story she had read about a woman convicted of robbing a bank; her accomplice was dead and she appeared in court alone. Sentenced to twenty years in prison, she thanked the judge. Interviewed when the film came out, after it had been awarded the International Critics Award at the 1970 Venice Film Festival, Barbara would say how deeply affected she had been by the story of this woman—what pain, what hopelessness could make a person desire to be put away? How could imprisonment be relief?
–Nathalie Léger, Suite for Barbara Loden
From an early age, I knew I wouldn’t make it in this world. So I connected with women who, in my mind, shared that feeling. Plath and Woolf with their suicides speaking of a deep pain. Barbara Loden and her film Wanda in which the title character wanders alone and unloved.
Wanda is poor and she is voiceless and she is invisible. I understand the not-thereness of her.
Nathalie Léger felt a connection to Wanda as well. Tasked with writing an encyclopedia entry about actress Barbara Loden, she quickly became obsessed and expanded her inquiry, writing Suite For Barbara Loden, a gorgeous and dizzying investigation and excavation. Léger delves into Loden’s life, at times embellishing and inventing, and analyzes every layer of Loden’s only film, Wanda. The book is fact and fiction and memoir and film criticism; it is a love letter to Loden and the singular film she created.
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Place Waste Dissent – Paul Hawkins
Between the years 1990 – ’93, the poet Paul Hawkins was squatter/occupier/protestor in one of the most contested of spaces in the U.K.’s recent and past history of place-and-occupancy wars. Claremont Road, in London’s East End, was an occupied site and scene for the protests of the ‘No M11 Link Road Campaign’. Paul Hawkins was there, and has documented what took place in his book, Place Waste Dissent, published by Influx Press.
In the foreword to the book, Alice Nutter refers to Claremont Road as ‘the symbol of resistance to the road-building programme of the early ’90s’ – Place Waste Dissent operates not only as flame held close as intimate torchlight illuminating that symbol, but as intravenous entry point into the sign itself. An immersive invocation of the sign and the times it symbolises, a border-shamanic reanimation act that brings Claremont Road back breathing bleeding spitting and bounding into the now. Into the Now that requires reckoning with what was and is still its Then.
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