A lot of people recognize Frida Kahlo via the trademark eyebrows, not because of many of her pieces of art are actually self portraits. Yet, one of the documentary narrators comments during the film, ‘It is truly impossible to disconnect the life of Frida Kahlo and art work of Frida Kahlo.’ Two huge effects are quickly evident in the life of this famed Mexican icon, One is an nearly fatal accident at the age of eighteen, of which she then spent essentially the rest of her life trying to recover from while suffering deeply from her injuries.
The second most important influence makes itself obvious as well, which is the dark and stormy relationship between her and her husband. Diego Rivera, the Stalinist, the mural-painter.
The traffic accident had spared of death, yet her smashed spine, pelvis and thighs were all beyond repair. In her own words she became “old in an flash”. It turn out, she was sadly unfertile too, discovering so by a horrible miscarriage.
Historian Victor Zamudio Taylor states during the film that she had to put herself together like a jigsaw puzzle, while also reconnecting Mexico itself back together. Mexican history took shocking and painful routes throughout her short life. Her first memories when she was young were Zapata revolution. It turned Mexico City into a amazing centre of creativity and debate, but was not without drawbacks.
In particular, there was a thorough celebration of history before the era of the Conquistadors and Christopher Columbus, and the rejection of European influences, digging deep into what some would call ‘hidden’ Mexico.
This collects responsibility for numerous sharp and loud shapes and colours in her art, and politics clearly show through. While Catholic by heritage, she became a communist guerilla, yet her own pain and agonizing moments emerges in works of art that reflect the dejection of the Catholic cross. ‘Drawing pain’ is what somebody once called it. Her husband Diego was to many around Frida Kahlo, ugly and anarchistic. Her disappointed mother remarked to Frida that it was like a stubborn elephant marrying an elegant bird.
Not unlike many Marxists, he self favorably told Frida that ‘fidelity is capitalist’ and as such, he went on shamelessly to have a relationship with her beloved sister. Frida now thought herself at liberty to create and garner new relationships, even with women. This however, did not seem to bring happiness, there was even a brief divorce between the two. But we are not told why interest in Kahlo should have risen so sharply after her death. Also, the musical track is rather cod-Mexican, quite apart from occasional bumps and squeaks.