Frida Kahlo, in her own words… ‘Between Passion and Pain’
A Film by Ana Vivas & Rodrigo Castano, Produced by Zarafa Films in association with Planet Group Entertainment DVD Length: 52:00
“Frida Kahlo…Between Passion and Pain”, was filmed on location in her birthplace, Mexico. The film contains never before seen archive footage, and focuses not only on her remarkable paintings but also on her own words drawn from her private diaries (Voice of Frida in English).Every painting tells a true story. Recorded interviews (Original Spanish voices with English sub-titles) with those who were close to Frida Kahlo complete a portrait of the artist and the person…presenting her indomitable spirit, and the magical, painful realism of her complicated life.
A page from the Kahlo Diary.
Kahlo’s work is at the fringes of symbolism and a kind of naïve surrealism. Today she is considered to be one of the greatest artists of all time. Picasso said that she surely was the best portraitist of the 20th century. André Breton himself organized one of the first great exhibitions of her work outside Mexico. Her work recreated a whole universe composed of fragments of her inner “self” and the deep rooted traditions of her her culture.
Fridia works from bed after her bout with Polio.
Kahlo’s paintings, as well as drawings and sketches from her diary, are the very soul of the film. The voice of the artist is heard through extracts from her diary. All of these texts (her own words) , have an extraordinary poetic and emotional force, making the link between interview segments with her closest living friends, including the daughter of Diego Rivera.
Frida in studio.
Of the world's great painters who truly 'suffered for her art', Frida Kahlo, the ultimate symbol of Mexican Bohemia in the Surrealism of the thirties and forties, probably sacrificed more than most of her peers on the altar of creativity.
Frida with Diego Rivera.
In 1925, at the age of eighteen, Kahlo was involved in a horrific accident that was to influence the rest of her existence. A train collided with the bus in which she was a passenger. An iron pole pierced her body, fracturing her pelvis and most of her vertebrae, tearing through flesh and bone and organs as if tissue paper. Frida would miraculously survive, only to endure from that moment on, a life of constant, terrible, intractable pain, and more than thirty debilitating, often botched surgical operations.
With each bout of suffering, came her art. It is visceral, frightening, mesmerizing. and utterly unforgettable. She began to paint in the first painful convalescence following her tragic accident, recording on canvas, with horrific brilliance, a grim life, torturous, and tenuous; yet at the same time, sensuous, fascinating and full of promise, a life of celebrity, politics, and fame.
At the age of twenty-two, she married the great artist and muralist Diego Rivera, and the two embarked on a stormy, passionate relationship that was to encompass and help define the historic 'surrealist' revolution. Latin America, with its exotic pre-Colombian myths and religious symbolism, could hardly have been more surreal, and Kahlo’s work became popular in Paris.
Frida and Diego marching for worker's rights in Mexico.
Picasso considered her the 'best portrait painter of the twentieth century". In 1939 André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, organized the first exhibition of her work outside of Mexico. Paradoxically, her unique style expressed a symbolic naïf quality, and Frida did not consider herself a surrealist..."I never paint my dreams. What I have portrayed is my reality."
Frida with Trotsky.
Writer and friend Carlos Fuentes said, "As she stated in her journal... "I will continue forever to write to you with my eyes." Her 'vision' and her reality became a world of crucifying agony, corsets of leather and steel, amputation, an addiction to pain-killing drugs and alcohol. And, incongruously, there were countless affairs with both men and women, among them Leon Trotsky, Louise Nevelson, and Georgia O'Keefe.
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