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‘Frida’ @ Amazon Prime Video

A Wonderfully Immersive Documentary of Frida Kahlo’s Diaries.

FRIDA began streaming globally on Prime Video on March 14.

Experience a intimately raw and magical journey through the life, mind, and heart of iconic artist Frida Kahlo.

Told through her own words for the very first time — drawn from her diary, revealing letters, essays, and print interviews — and brought vividly to life by lyrical animation inspired by her unforgettable artwork.

See video trailer:

About film:

Carla Gutierrez’s Frida (now streaming on Amazon Prime Video) is the latest of many documentaries about the Mexican painter, and the highest-profile Frida feature since Salma Hayek nabbed an Oscar nomination for playing her in the 2002 biopic, also simply titled Frida.

Stream it now on Prime Video!

Her life:

“I paint because I need to.” These are the first words we hear from Frida (voiced by Fernanda Echevarria), and the rest of the film rallies around that earnest thesis statement.

It’s 1910, and young Frida already was an outsider, trying not to laugh when everyone else around her prayed, and asking the local priest pragmatic questions about whether the virgin Mary was actually a virgin. She went to preparatory school to become a doctor, where she was one of very few girls in attendance – and where she dressed in a tie and pants and slicked her hair back to look more masculine, and either scraped by with crummy grades or cheated to get good ones. She met a boy named Alejandro and fell in love; he was a traditional romantic, but she – and these are her own words – wanted him to f— her, and this is our introduction to her voracious sexual appetite.

Frida was with Alejandro in 1925 when her life changed suddenly and radically. They were riding on a bus when it collided with a trolley. Frida was impaled by an iron railing. They couldn’t hear the ambulance over her screams. The doctors didn’t expect her to survive. She was trapped in a body cast in a hospital for an ungodly length of time that surely felt longer for a woman who relished personal freedom like she did – and one could argue that she never took such freedom for granted again. To cope with the agonizing confinement and immobility, her mother set up an easel so Frida could draw and paint in bed, and so she made portraits of her friends from school, and of herself.

Frida would live with the pain of the incident for literally every day of the rest of her life – and that pain would be the primary theme of her art. She brought four of her paintings to famed Mexican artist Diego Rivera in 1927, and he not only praised them, but also fell in love with her. And she with him, and if you’re wondering about the sincerity of his praise, Frida reveals that he soon was asking her opinion of his work, and taking her advice. She set aside her menswear and began wearing dresses for Diego, which speaks on her desire to neatly fit into his life, symbolizing how she existed in his shadow for many subsequent years, as they married and worked through the uberdrama of an open relationship that nevertheless spawned jealousy and turmoil. She traveled with him to New York and Detroit, where she learned to loathe the rich Americans ponying up for Diego’s commissions: “Stuck-up gringos,” she spits. “Motherf—ers. Sons of bitches.”

While in Detroit, Frida learned she was pregnant, and feared that her broken body wouldn’t allow her to carry to term. A doctor talked her out of aborting the fetus, and she suffered a brutal miscarriage that left her an emotional wreck, and prompted her to dive headlong into her art. All this time, she kept painting, painting, painting, admitting that she adopted Diego’s style. But it wasn’t until her marriage to Diego dissolved – what finally ended it? Her affair with Leon Trotsky, his affair with her dearest sister, Cristina – that she was compelled to follow her own muse, partly out of a desire to establish independence, partly because she needed to sell paintings to pay the bills. She eventually established her own identity as a world-renowned artist – she was lumped in with the surrealist movement, although she wasn’t aware it existed until Andre Breton curated exhibitions of her work in the late 1930s – and as an art teacher at a school in Mexico. She also did her damnedest to live with the increasingly debilitating physical pain that would torment her until her dying day.

* credit: Decider.

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