Hayek’s passion brings Mexican artist to life

She is bi-sexual and had an affair with Leon Trotsky. She is the third wife of painter Diego Rivera and had to deal with a great deal of physical and emotional pain for most of her life.

“She” is Frida Kahlo, a modern Mexican artist who is played by Salma Hayek in the film Frida. Based on the book by Hayden Herrera and directed by Julie Taymore (Titus), the film explores the life of Kahlo from the time of her teenage years to her death.

Hayek is one of the film’s producers and had to fight to make and star in the film. One of her challenges was that no one at first wanted to make the film and Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Laura San Giacomo wanted to play the lead role in another film version. Hayek has won that race and has produced a visually stunning film with vibrant visuals and creative camera moves. The film premiered this August in Italy’s Venice Film Festival.

Frida deals with two main events in Kahlo’s life, her crippling accident and her marriage to Diego Rivera played by Alfred Molina. The accident literally leaves Kahlo in a body cast for months and this misfortune turns into an opportunity for the young, as Kahlo develops her artistic talent.

Seeking advice on the quality of her paintings, Kahlo asks Rivera for his opinion. Impressed with her artistic style and strong personality, Rivera becomes her mentor, lover and eventually her husband. As a married couple, Rivera cheated on Kahlo indiscriminately, until the breaking point – an affair with her sister. Despite his numerous infidelities, Kahlo loved him unconditionally and passionately. Any other woman would have smacked him silly and thrown him out on the street. This is what makes Kahlo’s character so very interesting.

Indeed, Hayek plays Kahlo convincingly (complete with a unibrow) by being able to constantly switch her various emotions from being passionate, sympathetic and nurturing to being very angry and saddened by Rivera’s infidelity. This is portrayed in the scene when Kahlo dresses up her sister’s children into costumes and wants to scare Rivera in his studio. While guiding the children into the studio she is as happy as young child and as Kahlo enters she falls apart because she catches Rivera “in the act” with her sister. Being one of the most dramatic scenes in the film, Hayek goes from one extreme to the other and makes the audience feel enraged along with her.

Frida is the film to see if you have ever wondered how some artists deal with a great deal of pain. But the film is not all about the pain of an artist. It is also about a unique love that truly loves unconditionally and passionately.

Frida is only playing at the AMC and Cavendish Mall in its original English version.

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