This film's been practially impossible to see for most of its existence -- released for a brief original run in one New York theatre, then, despite many superlative reviews, allowed to sink into obscurity. Its current DVD incarnation is cause for celebration. WANDA's writer-director-star, Barbara Loden, was an extremely interesting woman, primarily remembered for her small, vibrant role as Beatty's troubled sister in SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS, and her marriage to that film's director, Elia Kazan. (Loden also won a Tony as the Monroe figure in Kazan's Lincoln Center production of Miller's AFTER THE FALL.) She spent years trying to get financing for WANDA, and apparently was angered and embittered by its failure to lead to other directing projects. Her early death from cancer deprived us of a remarkable talent, as this film proves. WANDA's long been championed by such French artists as Marguerite Duras and Isabelle Huppert; understandable, since the picture bears more than a passing resemblance to the French New Wave. Inspired by a newspaper story Loden had read, the film's primarily a character study, not plot-driven. Loden draws fine work from the other actors (including many non-professionals), and gives a haunting, memorable portrayal in the title role. With great economy of means (literal and figurative), she gives a performance you won't soon forget. Fans of independent cinema should grab this one quickly.