Frida (2023)

March 7th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Carla Gutiérrez | Doc 87′

This latest foray into the life of the artist Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderon (1907-54) follows Ali Ray‘s chronicle of the painter’s life seen through the prism of Mexican history.

Frida, based on her own previously unseen diaries and letters, is a much more intimate and visceral view told in her own words (voiced by Fernanda Echevarría del Rivero).

In troubled life full of pain and tragedy, Kahlo managed to triumph through sheer adversity and her own brand of bloody-mindedness.“Was the virgin Mary really a virgin?” she asked a priest during mass. Clearly she was en route to be a success as a paintet when she started channelling her florid fears and morbid moods onto canvas after a life-changing contretemps with a tram left her bedridden at only 18.

In keeping with its subject matter this is an artful documentary that unfolds in colour and black and white. In an inspired touch director Carla Gutiérrez has decided to animate some of Kahlo’s work so the ‘Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair’ comes alive. This seems in keeping with Kahlo’s avant-garde and subversive take on things, along with her unusual marital arrangements with her long term much older husband and lover Diego Rivera which ended in divorce and then re-marriage based on a bizarre set of conditions including Kahlo’s refusal to ever sleep with him again (they had both been unfaithful, she with Leon Trotsky – no less).

So Gutiérrez offers up a refreshingly lyrical new take on the artist that lives to her reputation as complex, vulnerable but fearless to the last. @MeredithTaylor

Frida is in UK cinemas on 8 March and on Prime Video on 14 March.




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