Never before has the extraordinary life of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo been framed in relation to the full spectrum of the historical and cultural influences that created her. The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo explores ... more »the 20th-century icon who became an international sensation in the worlds of modern art and radical politics. Among those interviewed in the documentary are Carlos Fuentes and Carlos Monsivais. The film is narrated by Rita Moreno; Mexican singer Lila Downs is the voice of Frida Kahlo.« less
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 03/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As the title "Life and Times" suggests, this documentary includes some history of the first half of the 20th century in Mexico, and the people who surrounded Frida's life; it includes a little background on her parents, and her terrible health problems, starting with polio as a child, and later a horrific traffic accident that left her in pain for the rest of her life; biographer Hayden Herrera and Ken Burns were the consultants for this film, and it includes many interviews, some of which are a little flaky, and perhaps the most interesting and insightful are the clips with writer Carlos Fuentes.
Not that many of her works are shown, although we do see some pieces that are rarely seen; what I appreciate the most is the archival footage of Frida, the most memorable being of her on the scaffold while Diego Rivera is painting a mural commission in the U.S., sleek and petite in a black dress. Frida's love/obsession for Diego is documented, along with their tormented and tempestuous marriage-divorce-marriage, his many infidelities (even with her sister), as well as her own indiscretions. Rita Moreno narrates the story well, with singer Lila Downs speaking the words of Frida from her journal, and the film ends with an auction at Christy's, where a small self-portrait sells for $1,200,000. Running time is approximately 85 minutes. "
Perfect for Fridalcoholics
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 05/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's no such thing as knowing too much about Frida. Thus, for her countless devotees, of which I am one, this was a must-see.
Every account of Frida brings out different facts. Thus, one must see or read them all. In Julie Taymor's movie, Trotsky ends their affair to save his marriage, but here Frida breaks it off because she is bored with him. In the film, she has an exhibition in Mexico after she lost her leg, but here they say her leg was amputated after the exhibition. The movie implies that Frida had an affair with Andre' Breton, but this documentary suggests she had an affair with Breton's wife.
This film not only shows photographs and moving images of Frida and Diego, but there is a moving image of them in color. I didn't realize she lived long enough to be filmed in color.
This film shows that many Latinos of this day (Fuentes, Monsivais) knew her. Rita Morena, a godmother of Latina celebrities, narrates this work.
This is the first and only PBS documentary on DVD that I've seen with Spanish subtitles. I am writing them today to let them know that all of their DVDs should have this option.
I thought the documentary would just re-hash things that I already knew, instead it just deepened and strengthen my love for Frida. May she continue to rest in peace!"
E. Karasik | Washington, DC United States | 08/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As another reviewer noted, for those of us who love and are inspired by Frida -- both her life and her work -- any additional tidbit of film footage or new anecdote about her is a treasure. This beautiful and moving documentary is a cornucopia of biographical information, archival film footage, wonderful photos, and current views of some of Frida's former haunts. The film is spare enough to avoid repetition of some of the best-known information, yet detailed enough to provide new insights to someone who has read two major biographies of Frida. One arrives at the conclusion with a much richer and more comprehensive understanding of her role in the history of Mexican art and surrealism. Rita Moreno's lilting narration enhances the film's Mexican flavor, and the sound track is unobtrusive but pleasant. The special features, consisting of interviews with Frida's students ("Los Fridos"), reveal another side of her personality: that of a gifted and generous teacher. These interviews also contain some enchanting insights into her creative process and her relationships. One of the best artist film biographies I've seen!"
Exceptional, even for a documentary
bernie | Arlington, Texas | 11/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary of Frida Kahlo was well organized and presented. You can not put one's whole life into 90 minutes; however this came pretty close. We see the places Frida lived and the people and events that influenced her. Luckily she lived in a time of photography and films. The presenters do not try to over include any aspect of her life and do not try to put a spin or judgment on it or her paintings. The presentation is intense and tightly packed. The films are not found in other media such as books. You may need to stop it periodical to reflect on the contents.
What it is not. It is not of course as in-depth as the book "Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo" by Hayden Herrera which includes correspondents' and a stronger background of the life and times.
Even though this is a first rate and fascinating documentary it can not hold a candle to the presentation in movie "Frida" Starring: Salma Hayek, Mía Maestro Director: Julie Taymor. This is presented first person and has a haunting musical compliments.
Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo"
A fascinating documentary on Frida Kahlo
Erica Anderson | Minneapolis, MN | 10/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite artists of all time. Her haunting self-portraits are some of the most unforgettable images that I have ever seen. Frida's piercing gaze and brilliant use of colors makes for a wicked combination. I first saw "The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo" on PBS a couple of months ago but I didn't see it in its entirety. After seeing the Julie Taymor film, I had to rent the documentary to get a better grasp of the enigmatic artist.
I loved Rita Moreno's narration. Rita was the perfect narrator. I also loved Lila Downs as Frida. The history of Frida is far from boring to say the very least. Her tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera is a soap opera's dream come true. What I found so interesting is the stories behind her paintings. The pain she went through to create the vivid, intimate, and often graphic images of the sorrow, pain, and anger she was experiencing. I found the documentary much more compelling than the biopic of the artist although the performances in the film were wonderful. This documentary is worth viewing for anyone who loved the Julie Taymor biopic."