In the coal mining region of Pennsylvania, Wanda Goronski is constantly drinking to shut out the problems in her life. Having deserted her husband and infant children, Wanda sleeps on her ... See full summary »
In the coal mining region of Pennsylvania, Wanda Goronski is constantly drinking to shut out the problems in her life. Having deserted her husband and infant children, Wanda sleeps on her sister's couch - when she isn't sleeping with the latest man who bought her a drink - and is unemployed with no long term job prospect. Her drinking and her life in combination have made her an emotionless woman. Her life changes when she meets Norman Dennis in a bar. She initially believes he's the bartender, but in reality he's a petty criminal who just held up the bar in question. Even after she learns Mr. Dennis' occupation and despite he treating her poorly, she willingly goes along with him and his petty crimes as a way to get through life. Mr. Dennis, on the other hand, sees her as a conduit to bigger and better things. Although things don't turn out quite the way either of the two envision, Wanda does at least begin to feel once again. Written by
One of those one-offs that makes you glad of the American cinema.
At last! An American director who can ingest European influences maturely, not as a superficial and desperate plea for depth. In its tale of a woman drifting through a barren landscape, falling in with abusive or indifferent men; in its distanced style, its pared down performances and dialogue, its long takes of nothing in particular, or rather, of everything, of life, mundane actions, of people looking and finding and doing; in its use of the crime genre for anti-generic and anti-narrative ends; in its restrained use of religious symbolism culminating in an enigmatic scene in a catacombs, one is reminded of Bresson - less rigorous, maybe, but less misogynistic too, more open.
The central relationship and road movie format reminds me of 'La Strada'; the bank robbery an absurdist take on 'Gun Crazy'. Mostly, this is a wonderful one-off, and it is a real crime that its maker only made this one film, while her husband was allowed over twenty.
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