Frida 2024 movie review

“I paint because I need to.” This revelation sets the stage for a captivating new documentary on Frida Kahlo (yes, another one), highlighting the incandescent brilliance of her written words. Through a mesmerizing voiceover, Kahlo narrates her own story, woven from letters, diaries, and interviews, brought to life by Mexican stage actor Fernanda Echevarría del Rivero. The result is a raw and exhilaratingly intimate portrayal.

From a young age, Kahlo was inherently rebellious. As a child, she questioned the priest about the virginity of Mary. In college, she defied conventions by donning men’s suits, exuding a strikingly beautiful androgyny in old photographs. Then came the life-altering accident that nearly claimed her life. At 18, Kahlo was involved in a bus-tram collision, the handrail piercing her body like a sword through a bull. Confined to a hospital bed for months, she found solace in painting, her intensely autobiographical canvases capturing the essence of her emotions and experiences.

Director Carla Gutiérrez ventures into controversy by animating some of Kahlo’s artworks, infusing them with life. For instance, the hair in “Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair” appears to flutter down to the ground, a depiction that has stirred debate among Kahlo enthusiasts. Yet, one wonders, does it surpass the trivialization of her work seen on tea towels?

The documentary delves into a compelling section where Kahlo recounts her journey out of Diego Rivera’s shadow, akin to a manifesto of independence. Following a devastating miscarriage, she became fixated on “starting over” and depicting the world “through no one else’s eyes.” Kahlo candidly regretted investing her prime years in a man, eventually divorcing Rivera. Even as he pleaded for reconciliation, she imposed two conditions: joint financial responsibility and a vow of celibacy between them, having endured their epic infidelities.

With each revelation, Kahlo’s complexity and resilience shine through. She grapples with chronic pain while exuding scorching sensuality in her love letters. She spares no mercy for her enemies, particularly the Surrealists, and punctuates her discourse with colorful language. During a visit to New York, where Rivera is lionized by the art world elite, Kahlo punctures his ego with biting wit: “Diego is big shit here.”


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By acinetv