Frida Kahlo (2020)

A new Frida Kahlo film will be appearing in cinemas from 20th October courtesy of Exhibition On Screen, the art documentary experts, who use their unique connections with galleries, museums and artists around the world to deliver onto the big screen outstanding biographical accounts of the world’s leading artists, this time providing a newly detailed story of the iconic female artist from Mexico.

This is a polished account of the life of one of the world’s most recognizable faces and even though you might not be quite sure why you recognise her, you’ll almost definitely be astounded by her life story which is quite remarkable for a Mexican girl, the daughter of a German immigrant photographer, who would become a globally iconic figure as instantly recognisable as Van Gogh and with a turbulent life story to match.

Directed by Ali Ray who has put together this inspiring story, which trails a life full of love, passion, pain and suffering by showing her paintings, photographs and narrating some of her letters and diary exerts. These are all joined together alongside interviews from family relatives and the expert art world figures, here, from the galleries and museums entrusted with her work and legacy in Mexico. We’re given a blow by blow account of how she and her work evolved with rare insights into the hidden symbolic meaning that is like a feature length video guide that gets you so close to the action you can almost smell the paint.

It’s an engaging portrayal that peels back the layers that make up her incredible life from a young girl growing up in a suburb of Mexico City, in the now famous ‘Casa Azul’ family home built there by her father. He would pass on a lot of his artistic portrait knowledge and skills to Frida, although she wasn’t initially destined for all of that. Originally accepted at a leading school in Mexico City studying to become a doctor, she was already mixing with the intellectual elite of an aspiring, European influenced city, but she would be struck by tragedy. A near fatal accident would strangely seal her destiny towards artistic greatness. The accident leaving her bedridden would make her return to her childhood interest in painting.

She remained socially and politically engaged and through the family’s artistic and intellectual circles she would meet her artistic mentor and future husband Diego Rivera who was her love and inspiration but also long-term tormentor. After the Mexican revolution there was a lot of cultural and social change with the birth of a new Mexican pride that would play an important part in Frida’s life and work. Diego was a well known figure in the development of murialism art at the time and politically active himself, he took Frida to America where they lived for several years and where she would sadly depict her miscarriage in one of her paintings, the first ever thought to have been done of its kind and an example of her purely visceral style of work. After Diego’s continual infidelities Frida began her own with both men and women and was famously rumoured to have had an affair with a high profile political figure who was seeking refuge in Mexico at the time. 

This is a fantastic journey to be taken on about the extraordinary life of Frida Kahlo, an artist who leaves everything on the canvas, told with such warmth and sentimentality that will leave anyone who doesn’t know her story totally astounded. She will be remembered alongside the great artists for her iconic self-portraits with those famously adjoining eyebrows, upright figure and piercing gaze, which the film goes a long way to help explain.

Film: Frida Kahlo

Run time: 1hr 30min

Director: Ali Ray

Genre: Documentary

Rated: 12A

Rating: 4/5


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