FRIDA KAHLO: THE DEFINITIVE FILM EXPLORING THE LIFE AND ART OF A GLOBAL ICON

Exhibition on Screen are delighted to announce that their latest film, Frida Kahlo - In UK Cinemas from 20th October 2020

'Who was Frida Kahlo? Everyone knows her, but who was the woman behind the bright colours, the big brows, and the floral crowns? Take a journey through the life of a true icon, discover her art, and uncover the truth behind her often turbulent life.'


Frida Kahlo the story of a woman who transgressed life in many different ways and on many different levels. A woman who became an icon because of her paintings and artwork and also because she was known as the woman behind bright colours, big brows and floral crowns which adorns a range of paraphernalia. However, this woman who much more and in the film Frida Kahlo we get a deeper look into her life from her diaries and letters which unravels into a deeper and clearer understanding of who she really was.


The composition of the film which entailed speaking to Kahlo experts, reviewing her art, studying her letters and diaries created a wonderful bouquet of evidence of this inspiring, yet complex woman. A woman who spent most of her life in incredible pain both emotionally and physically and yet she was able to transcend and transmute that pain, creating corridors of superb art, whose structures, concepts and compositions almost defied the times she was living in. Frida's was born outside Mexico City in 1907 and contracted polio at age six which crippled her right leg, which meant it was shorter than her left and she walked with a limp. This meant she had to spend long periods of time convalescing and as a result she grew closer to her father who was a photographer, who introduced her to photography. Frida then began sketching, and developed an early interest in art and was one of the first students admitted to an elite national preparatory school, where she planned to study medicine.


Another major incident which severely changed Frida's life happened on September 17, 1925. She boarded a bus after school with her boyfriend Alejandro Gómez Arias. They boarded a crowded bus, and took seats towards the back. Minutes later, the bus driver tried to pass in front of an oncoming electric streetcar, which crashed into the side of the bus, dragging it for a number of feet.


Several passengers were killed and an iron handrail impaled through Frida's pelvis. Kahlo’s pelvic bone had been fractured and the rail had punctured her abdomen and uterus. Her spine had been broken in three places, her right leg in 11 places, her shoulder was dislocated, her collarbone was broken, and doctors later discovered that three additional vertebrae had been broken as well.


From this point on Frida's life was a series of operations and constant pain. Being in convalescence for so much of her life gave Frida to express her life through her paintings. Many of her paintings were self portraits. She was also an activist and one can see in her eyes that stance of activism and defiance.


Failed relationships, rejection, marriage, affairs,( her husband had an affair with her sister who she was close to), divorce, more affairs with both men and women. Her inability to bear a child, after the injuries she suffered in a tram crash, was painfully close to her. She had one abortion when it was clear that her health would not allow her to go through with the pregnancy. When she became pregnant again a couple of years later, she miscarried. All these experiences created a masterpiece of creative genius in Frida.



The Broken Column, 1944, Frida Kahlo, Museo Dolores Olmedo, Photo @ Selva, Bridgeman


Frida's paintings captured life from a viewpoint of the expression of pain but she was able to embody a universal concept into her themes. In many of her letters to friends there is a narrative where she talks about 'her suffering' and yet one does not get the feeling that Frida wanted pity or to be pitied but more so it was a vocal expression of what she was definitely going through and yet somehow this was superseded by her artistic creativity and deep connection to her wounding that she was then able to express through her paintings.


Within the captivity and imprisonment of her body, due to her ill health she still was able to have affairs with both men and women. Was this an outlet for her lack of emotional connection because of her need to express a love for a man who had captured her heart, her husband, Diego Rivera who on some level she felt wasn't really there for her. A man who was immersed in his paintings and art. A man who had an affair with her sister, the sister Frida was close to which was another emotional nail in her already wounded life. A man who had several openly high profile affairs. The love for her husband, was unrequited to a certain degree, yet paradoxically there was a bond that held them together, and even though they eventually got back together after their divorce they agreed that they could have affairs, which evidently shows that they knew they couldn't live without each other but also that they would have to accept and agree to have the space to have affairs for this setup to work. Diego especially needed his freedom and I feel Frida was happy for this to happen, because her was her lifeline, her air.


Frida's life timeline strikes me as one that is marked with tacks and nails rather-than roses and chocolate. I get the image of Christ on the Cross, however, she was able to capture and create incredible moments on canvas turning them into sometimes mystical portrayals, capturing her experiences in unusual, maybe even dark ways, whilst always holding an energy of defiance and in a way Frida wore a beauty in the presentation of who she was.


Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Necklace of Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird 1940


There was a broken beauty to this woman, and she was able to captivate the world to enquire into her mysteriousness through the way she always posed and held herself. She often turned to alcohol a form of comfort to suppress her emotional and physical pain and still from this stream of self-destruction, she indulged in affairs which is interesting because I don't get a sense that they eased any part of the ache she carried, as they seemed to be a process she needed to go through and experience as part of her will to live and to cope with her feelings about her husband. Even the way she dressed was very symbolic and once again a statement of who she was. Never conforming to the dictates of society, whilst always seeking to celebrate her culture creating and maintaining her own individualism..


Frida's works are filled with colours and animals and nature which she uses in contrasting ways, expression of mood. Her work has many juxtaposing elements and concepts which shows a woman who is able to capture the whole of something within a single segment which then has the capacity to drown the onlooker into much deeper and richer sentiments and meanings. She is able to capture depths of her own suffering with a dignity and poise of graceful defiance, whilst never really showing emotion, yet with a commanding concrete strength of dignity and character.


Filming Alfredo Vilchis Roque © EXHIBITION ON SCREEN.


'Frida Kohal was filmed extensively at The Blue House in Mexico City, this personal and intimate film offers privileged access to her works, and highlights the source of her feverish creativity, her resilience, and her unmatched lust for life, politics, men and women. Delving deeper than any film has done before, engaging with world-renowned Kahlo experts, exploring how great an artist she was, discover the real Frida Kahlo.

Find screenings at www.exhibitiononscreen.com/films/frida-kahlo


Director Ali Ray Producer Phil Grabsky


Written by Esther Austin Editor in Chief

Turingpoint: Your Lifestyle, Your Well-Being Magazine https://www.issuu.com/estheraustinglobal www.turningpointmag.com @turningpointmagazine

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