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HomeMoviesExploring the life of Frida Kahlo in her own words : NPR

Exploring the life of Frida Kahlo in her own words : NPR

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A brand new documentary in regards to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo makes use of her personal phrases to weave its story – drawing on her letters, diaries and interviews.



MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A brand new movie in regards to the late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo started streaming on Amazon Prime this week.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “FRIDA”)

FERNANDA ECHEVARRIA DEL RIVERO: (As Frida Kahlo, talking Spanish).

KELLY: Filmmaker Carla Gutierrez paints a portrait of the sophisticated artist together with her personal phrases. NPR’s Mandalit del Barco reviews.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Frida Kahlo died in 1954. And since then, there have been numerous retellings of her life and artwork. I even produced a radio documentary for NPR in 1991.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Frida left behind photos painted totally on tiny bits of tin – graphic, sensual photos of ache and longing.

DEL BARCO: In 2002, actress Salma Hayek starred in Julie Taymor’s fictional movie about Kahlo – her artwork, politics and tempestuous relationship with painter Diego Rivera.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FRIDA”)

SALMA HAYEK PINAULT: (As Frida Kahlo, singing in Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character, talking Spanish).

HAYEK PINAULT: (As Frida Kahlo, singing in Spanish).

DEL BARCO: Most of those therapies have relied on actors or interviews with teachers, artwork historians and up to date artists, however Carla Gutierrez needed a contemporary take.

CARLA GUTIERREZ: As an alternative of getting that historic distance of, like, different folks explaining as – what she meant together with her artwork, I actually needed to offer that reward to viewers of, like, simply listening to from her personal phrases.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “FRIDA”)

ECHEVARRIA DEL RIVERO: (As Frida Kahlo, talking Spanish).

DEL BARCO: “I paint myself as a result of that is who I do know finest,” says the artist identified for her selfies. Voiced by Mexican actress Fernanda Echevarria del Rivero, Kahlo’s phrases are taken from handwritten letters and illustrated diaries in Spanish with English subtitles. Gutierrez says she needed to get inside Kahlo’s head.

GUTIERREZ: Like, what was she considering? What was she feeling? And I felt that, as a Latina – any person that grew up in Latin America – there was this connection that I’ve with the world that created Frida.

DEL BARCO: Gutierrez was born in Peru and noticed her first Frida Kahlo portray as a school pupil in Massachusetts.

GUTIERREZ: Her impressions of the USA and craving house, craving for Mexico – that portray actually mirrored my very own expertise. After which I grew to become obsessed, like tens of millions of individuals all over the world.

DEL BARCO: As an editor, Gutierrez has labored on documentaries on different what she calls badass girls – the late Supreme Court docket Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, singer Chavela Vargas and chef Julia Little one. However “Frida” is her first movie as director. Gutierrez and her crew combed by means of bins saved by Hayden Herrera, who wrote the definitive Frida Kahlo biography in 1983.

HAYDEN HERRERA: Attics and closets. They got here a number of occasions, and we had fun. However I mainly gave all of them my analysis materials.

DEL BARCO: That included transcripts of interviews with individuals who knew Kahlo. One of many movie’s archivists, Gabriel Reyes, additionally scoured college libraries, museums and personal collections to seek out extra materials.

GABRIEL REYES: These letters usually have little doodles on them – like, authentic Frida art work – and he or she would, like, do form of lipstick kisses on these letters.

DEL BARCO: In Mexico, one other archivist, Adrian Gutierrez, was capable of gather some hardly ever seen pictures and photographs of Frida and Diego collectively and Diego kissing one other lady. There’s footage of the Mexican revolutionary Emilio Zapata and of Purple Cross employees in Mexico Metropolis bandaging trolly accident victims like Frida, who was famously injured as a teen. She painted about that and different ache she suffered.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “FRIDA”)

ALEXA RAMIREZ: (Vocalizing).

DEL BARCO: Movie composer Victor Hernandez Stumpfhauzer has created a soundtrack of contemporary digital music with some folkloric aptitude and the ethereal voice of his spouse, Alexa Ramirez. And Gutierrez has additionally made the choice to barely animate a few of Kahlo’s work. Frida’s open coronary heart beats and bleeds. Tears roll down her face. And when she cuts her hair in desperation over her divorce, her scissors transfer, and items of her hair fall to the ground. The Salma Hayek movie additionally animated Kahlo’s work, however Herrera says doing so in a documentary was gutsy.

HERRERA: Once I first noticed the animation, I assumed, oh, my God. That is – however then I discovered it actually seducted and actually added a lot to the understanding of her portray. I discovered them very astute and really fairly witty, and so they introduced you nearer to Frida.

DEL BARCO: Herrera says it is exceptional that Frida mania continues to be very a lot alive.

HERRERA: I believe she would have been happy that we’re nonetheless speaking about her, and I believe she would have preferred this movie. Though seeing her personal work animated may not be simple, she might need laughed and thought it was amusing.

DEL BARCO: Herrera says this newest documentary is her favourite telling of Frida Kahlo and is itself a murals. Mandalit del Barco, NPR Information.

Copyright © 2024 NPR. All rights reserved. Go to our web site phrases of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for additional info.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content might not be in its last type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability might differ. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio document.

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