Frida (2002), Julie Taymor

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Dedicated to my dead rabbit, Akon. obviously you are in a better place, but you are missed everyday.

Frida, directed by Julie Taymor is a film that tells the story of Frida Kahlo. If you don’t know her already, she is a mexican artist known for her self portraits. See? I love how hairy she is. This post actually works well into my “what’s-the-point-of-shaving-my-legs-this-december” theory.

self-portrait-with-braid-1941

The story starts out with the before of her “great accident”. It involves introducing her family, her school life and wants to go to medical school even her boyfriend who is this small, bum of a man type of guy. On a bus ride, she is impaled by a metal pole and she suffered a lot of broken bones and spinal problems. After the accident, her bitchy boyfriend leaves her to go to Europe and she is instantly heartbroken. The next three months is spent healing in a full body suit, laying still and looking at the ceiling. This is where her parents come in, they build her an easel that is able to be used in bed, and her father brings her canvases, oil paints and brushes. This is where her fascination with self-portraits started.

How the film is composed, you have paintings that Frida painted, dissolve into the scene of the film. It’s a refreshing way to introduce the viewer to the type of art and the gradual evolution of the story/artist itself.

After healing and getting rave family reviews of her art, she decides to take her art to a well-known artist of the time, Diego Rivera and try to get his opinion on the matter. She does so while he was painting one of his murals. She was this brash character and would only pursue being an artist, if she could make money from it thus getting  an opinion and the go ahead meant the world to her. He told her that she would take her paintings and would visit her in the next few days, if he agreed and loved her work.

And then he did.

This was the start of their relationship of sorts. Frida was slowly growing into her own artist, while Diego was already well-known within mexico and around the world. He was also this ladies man, who would find a new muse and fuck her senseless until there wasn’t a point to it anymore. Frida entered and married the man, thinking she could change him, or at least be the exception to what he does. But she wasn’t, and it caused this uproar at times within the relationship. But in the midst, she was also exploring her own sexuality and even sleeping with the same women that Diego had.

Eventually, the two are invited on an American tour and Diego was set to paint a mural at the Rockefeller Center. Though ridiculously exciting to be in such a big city, their way of life continues. Diego finds “other girls’, and Frida is painting, and slowly working through her stresses. During this time, she has a miscarriage and her mother dies, she’s melting in result and all she can think of is home. To add, because of Diego’s political view on communism, his mural being painted at the Rockefeller, is destroyed and they are sent home.

After returning home, they have this massive new-age home-built. They’re going to stay and start a solid life in Mexico. They even invite Frida’s sister, Cristina to move in with them and become Diego’s new assistant. But of course, guess what he does? Sleeps with her and this results in Frida drawing the line instantly. She leaves him and gets pulled into the world of alcoholism, She is only pulled out, when asked by Diego – if they could pretend to be a couple and host Trotsky while he is Mexico on asylum.

She reluctantly agrees, and they even end up hosting the important political figure and wife at Frida’s family home. This was a big deal with how Diego felt politically and there was a brand new energy building up in the film. I don’t know whether it was Frida reacting or just experiencing her own life, but she ends up having an affaire with Trotsky himself, but this forces the married Trotsky to leave the safety of the house they were living at, probably because his wife wanted out.

Frida leaves for Paris after all this. Because really? What was the point of hanging around. She was pissed off and still had an anger growing for Diego, and there was a potential affaire that did not work out in her favor. Diego, then finds out that she did have this affaire and divorces her after returning home from Paris. It felt funny, but he held his political views higher than the person he had in front of him.

eventually, Trotsky is murdered in Mexico, and Diego is a suspect. Frida is held at his place, because Diego was nowhere to be found. Eventually, everything is figured out and Diego comes saves the day (that he caused?).

The rest of the movie, is this melt down into the last days of Frida herself. Her art had started to gain in popularity, but her body was failing her. Toes and limbs eventually having to be amputated. Through out all this, Diego eventually asks her to remarry him and she agrees. She lives long enough to have her own solo exhibition in Mexico. It was actually funny how she ended up going, she was told by the doctors she couldn’t leave her bed, so they put her bed in the back of a truck and that’s how she arrives. I don’t know whether there is any honesty in comparison to the real story, but it’s an awesome entrance regardless. She passes away soon after.

The end.

Two things I loved about this movie, the director, the cast and the story itself. First, the director (Julie Taymor), is this accomplished female artist herself. It’s refreshing to have that. The cast too, filled with people such as Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina, really bring a good energy to how the story was played out. They seemed very dedicated to their characters and it fit the film well. It made me want to learn more about the both of them as a whole, (past Salma films and just more on Molina), did you know Mr. Molina has the most lego figures made out of him? (because of his past roles in various films).

The story itself, was enjoyable. Latin culture always and still seems at a distance at me. Though it’s something I want to learn more about, I’m never completely satisfied. You had a young lady in mexico, growing up and thriving as a creative being, it something that instantly appealed to me. There was even little cooking scenes that perked my interest. I compared myself as a young woman and even as a painter at times (though not at the same level), and to have a story make you do that, means I think, it’s doing the job it’s set out to. To connect itself to you. I also enjoyed the less-then-conventional romantic relationship between the two leading characters, though toxic/ and something I wouldn’t want to live through, it was entertaining to watch.

8/10. Loved the colours of the film and wish I had nachos with cheese and lime.

 

 

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