Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican painter who lived in the first half of the past century, has become in modern times a real icon in the pop culture. If I went to a party with a unibrow, dressed in gaudy colours and my hair gathered up into a pair of plaits with flowers and coloured ribbons, everyone would guess that I am in disguise as Frida.
After her death, in 1954, her style has inspired the worldwide catwalks and her image has been repeatedly exploited to create a long series of articles of consumption, including F. K. Tequila and a cosmetics line named Republic Cosmetics. On the occasion of the last 8th March, even a Frida Barbie has been launched, which hasn’t failed in arising bitter controversy. But who really was Frida Kahlo? If you have no idea about it, then this movie will be an excellent starting point for discovering it. And if you already know her story, you will be moved in watching her character so accurately represented in a work that pays tribute to her.
In the now far 2002, this Julie Taymor‘s film got 6 Oscar nominations (among which Salma Hayek‘s nomination couldn’t be missing)) and won the statuette for the Best Make-up and the Best Soundtrack.
“Feet, why do I want them, when I’ve got wings to fly?” Frida wrote these words one year before her death, in 1953. And it is in this year that the first scene of the film opens, inviting us to enter the wonderful tropical garden in Azul House, Frida’s house. She appears lying on that famous canopy bed, with a mirror on the ceiling, where she was forced to stay for a long time in her life. “Be careful, this dead body is still breathing” are the last words pronounced by Salma Hayek, who at those times had to fight against the Miramax to produce and interpret this movie. After a glance at 1953, the narration takes us back to 1925, when Frida is only 18. Let’s start from here to think back over the events that marked her life, beginning from a dramatic and terrible one: the accident of a bus which, by crumpling against a wall made her disabled, and forced her to undergo, all along the years, 32 operations. A few years later she gets married to Diego Rivera, an illustrious painter of the time (she is 22, he is 43). He takes her under his wing and introduces her in the Mexican political and cultural scene. The marriage with Rivera .itself, who defines himself as “physiologically incapable of fidelity”, will bring to her life another long series of sufferings and disappointments. After the umpteenth betrayal, Frida will get to the point where she says a sentence which is as famous as dramatic:” There have been two bad accidents in my life, Diego: that bus and you. You are by far the worst one “.
The political activism, the marriage with Rivera, “the invasion of Gringoland” and the physical pain of a mangled, over and over again sewn body are told throughout the most meaningful works of her artistic production, where Frida puts all of her background. To the basically traditional tone of this biography, alternate in fact some animated inserts and experimental sequences, where pictures such as “Henry Ford Hospital” and “The broken spine” are brought into life. A now and then allegorical and surrealistic film, that conveys a deep sense of pain and solitude, giving us back, at the same time, the portrait of an attached to life, revolutionary, courageous and undefeatable woman. A fascinating and charismatic figure, who, thanks to the extraordinary interpretation of Salma Hayek, lives back in this movie with all her powerful beauty.