This biopic allows it’s audience to delve into the life of an artist. An artist of phenomenal proportions, who was able to help open the door for women to be influential within the art world. Even to this day she still perpetuates this idea of “breaking the glass ceiling”, which is seen and affluently done in the film, “Frida” directed by Julie Taymor.
“Frida” is a film about the prolific Hispanic artist Frida Kahlo. Directed by Julie Taymor and starring Salma Hayek as Kahlo, the film sets itself up for dynamic precision. With the scene transitions throughout the film doing two things: first, giving viewers a look at Kahlo’s most singular and unique pieces of art. Secondly, the film expands and shows a a more significant role of playing metaphor to Frida Kahlo’s life. As Kahlo had once stated: “I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”
One example of her reality being emulated through painting is, “The Broken Column” (1944). This image depicts Kahlo in one of the many back braces she had to wear following a bus accident when she was eighteen years old. The accident left her subjected to periods of extreme pain and being bedridden for months, which can be seen within the painting. Kahlo had various surgeries in an attempt to relieve the pain, with little to no success. The screws, as well as the view into her spine, shows the physical pain she endured. And consequentially caused the taking away of the motherhood role she so desired.
Although Kahlo was able to conceive, she had never been able to carry the fetus to term. The injuries she sustained from the bus accident left damage to her uterus, among other parts of her body. The film explores the grief of the motherhood she was robbed of. This lost opportunity is depicted in her work, “Henry Ford Hospital” (1932). It is the image of a fetus connected to a tearful Kahlo, it shows the emotional pain she went through due to her second miscarriage.
However- besides the terminal condition of her inability to be a mother- was her relationship with fellow highly revered artist Diego Rivera. But their marriage was far from perfect, as Rivera partook in numerous affairs. Kahlo in turn, had affairs of her own, with both men and women, although her sexuality was only sporadically depicted throughout the film. But it was Rivera’s affair with Frida Kahlo’s own sister that put the relationship to an end. Her troubles with self-identity following this is reflected in her work, “Self Portrait with Cropped Hair” (1940). Her iconic locks had been cut and strewn on the floor around her, as if to leave the pieces of her past behind.
Overall,the intellectual film,“Frida” is a sustainable example of the ability to tell a story of an artist through their artwork. Frida Kahlo, though deceased, still allows her legacy to live on within the lives of other women who struggle, yet still all the while, express perseverance, self-expression and a fight for life.
Author: Stephanie Sandoval
Stephanie Sandoval has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Sociology as well as a Master of Arts degree in Humanities with an emphasis in English and Cultural Studies from Mount Saint Mary’s University. Her master’s thesis discusses literary characters that challenge gender conventional standards. Always studious, Stephanie successfully managed to be on the Dean’s List for all four of her undergraduate years. In 2007, she received the Ursula Williams Award for Writing, an honor from her alma mater. She has volunteered her researching, writing, and editing expertise to non-profit organizations such as Breathe California of Los Angeles County, American Friends Service Committee andTwo Wings.