Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Enrique Torres | San Diegotitlan, Califas | 04/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For starters, this film won an Ariel, the Mexican equivilant of an Oscar in 1985. The story of Magdalena Carmen Frieda(she changed the spelling) Kahlo, better known as Frida Kahlo is brought to life on film by Ofelia Medina, who bears an uncanny resemblance, with perfection and touching authenticity. Frida could control certain circumstances of her life, like her birth date, which she changed from July 6 1907 to 1910 to conincide with the Mexican Revolution but others she could not, such as her her polio and terrible bus accident early in life that left her practically an invalid the rest of her life. This film shows both of these aspects of Frida, her revolutionary zeal for life and her misfortune. Often told in a series of montages, at times painfully slow, possibly to show just that, Frida's life is reflected upon going back and forth in time, her childhood, her tumultuous relationship with spouse and famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, her affairs with both men and women, including the exiled Russian Trotsy and Mexican muralist David Siquieros, her participation in social movements, her drug use and drinking, and of course, her art, her greatest gift, which she left for all the world to enjoy. The close ups of her art are used in most dramatic fashion, further illustrating her life. There is not much dialogue, the pictures and scenes tell the story quite well. The movie does an excellent job of telling a remarkable story of a physically tortured soul whose art showed the pain her short(47) life endured. This is a movie that is essential viewing for any admirers of Frida, without any fluff, this movie tells the story straight up. This a great movie as told by Mexicans not a slick Hollywood version. It helps to know about Frida prior to viewing as the details of her life make more sense that way. Frida Kahlo is a tremendous spirit and this film captures that undying, fighting spirit, of one of the greatest Mexican artists come to life, Frida Kahlo lives on."
Ofelias performance is as if Frida and her were soulmates.
Manny Hernandez | 09/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, Frida was a very special person, with this film we can see clearly how is it that she had thought, felt and done to irridiate that great ingenious person she was and become suspended in time where it's very difficult to be forgotten. Today our Ofelia Medina can be considered her soulmate, because of the resemblance of her performance and her physical aspect the film is interesting, fast, and even though it has many periods, there is no need to continue many shots because of the clear scenes and the environment in which the actress is capable of feeling and transmiting. Thank you, for accepting my opinion, thankyou Ofe, for bringing up the image of a very special human beign, like Frida and for letting us know how special and caring you are for our Mexican roots."
Frida, naturaleza viva
Manny Hernandez | Bay Area, CA | 03/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie, if you consider that it was made in 1984, becomes quite an accomplishment: it breaks with the stereotype of Latinamerican movies of the times. It also conveys a lot about what Frida's life of suffering was like, and the degree to which she influenced Mexican culture. Watch it almost as a documentary of Frida's life, excellently played by Ofelia Medina (had a minor role more as landlady more recently in "Before Night Falls".)"
Putting the negative reviews in perspective.
Steve Peters | Seattle, WA | 05/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Those who enjoyed the recent Hollywood version of Frida Kahlo's story may be disappointed by Mexican director Paul Leduc's 1984 film, as it makes few concessions to popular taste.
Slow, quiet, nearly wordless, it assumes that its audience is already familiar with Kahlo, and expects you to make some effort as a viewer. The timeline jumps around - the introduction explains that the scenes that follow are random memories flashing through Frida's mind during her final days. Nothing is explained. There are no dazzling special effects, and no famous (American) stars, though the great Mexican actress Ofelia Medina does a remarkable job in the title role, especially considering the lack of dialog.
I am not familiar with Leduc's other films, but his "Frida" struck me as beautiful, poetic, and faithful to the spirit of Kahlo's own work in its dreamy, surreal treatment and the intensity of its imagery. Given the fragmented narrative style, it holds together well and the scenes flow nicely into each other, and you do get a sense of her personality and the major events in her life; they are simply not presented in typical linear bio-pic form. For anyone familiar with early 20th century art, contemporary Mexican cinema, or the films of Raul Ruiz, Jacques Rivette, Peter Greenaway, et al, this is not a stretch and I would recommend it (along with Servando Gonzalez' amazing "Yanco" from 1961). But it is certainly an "art film," not aimed at mainstream audiences.
The Julie Taymor/Salma Hayek film had a completely different agenda - to present Frida to a large audience, most of whom were expected to know little or nothing about her or the Surrealist movement to which her work is related, to say nothing of the Marxist socio-political circles in which she moved. In a sense, the time was ripe for it. In the sixteen years between the two films, Kahlo was thoroughly romanticized and marketed as a pop culture icon. Fueled by Hayden Herrera's 1991 biography of Kahlo, the Cult of Frida spread beyond the artsy intelligencia, and the market was flooded with Frida posters, t-shirts, handbags, fridge magnets, and gear shift knobs. In the USA, the way was paved by the "Southwest Style" craze of the 80s (see also Georgia O'Keefe), and American audiences had been primed for romantic Latin American magical realism by the success of novelists such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende, and Laura Esquivel's hit novel/movie "Like Water for Chocolate". Even Madonna was threatening to make a Frida movie.
So...Matters of style and personal taste aside, Leduc's film was slightly ahead of its time. When it was first released and screened in art cinemas and film festivals, there was considerable excitement among people to whom Kahlo's story was already well known, and it was well received. But its lack of mass appeal is no surprise. What is astonishing, however, is how this film has nearly vanished in the wake of the newer one. I saw very few reviews of the newer film that even mentioned this one, even though Hayek herself has acknowledged Leduc's project and clearly borrowed from it."