Before and After
Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek) – the most significant woman painter in the 20th century. She introduced experiences onto the canvas in a special, symbolic way, with visible connections to her emotions. At the age of 18, she is in a traffic accident. The crash reduces her life to the “before and the after”, as the many surgical interventions, intended breaks, and extrusions that followed were unsuccessful. She comes near to losing mobility, which takes her into depression.
However, in this biopic drama, directed by Julie Taymor, we can see an entirely different Frida, vivid and vital, even though this is the exact opposite of her physical reality. Traumas block Frida’s lifesource for a while, but pain does not destroy her, in the end. We see how she brings up feelings from the bottom of her soul for powerful effects. The plot conceals the brightest part of Frida’s life, her first meeting with Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina). She dies at age 53 of gangrene, caused by a massive infection. Living a fulfilled life, Frida leaves a profound footprint.
Frida and Diego
We are blessed to live in a time of technological marvels, where each location can be a destiny that is reachable from home. Thus, the famous platform Google Art & Culture gives us access to most museums worldwide. Recently, I`ve “been” to Frida’s Blue house, even got a chance to spend a day as an artist. Frida and Diego are living separately. They occupy adjacent houses, but each day they spend in solitary. Thus, most of the works and the ambience inside are distinguished, as they suit the individual personalities. It helps to understand the characters in the movie and how they are transformed, why they stay together and, also, what they teach each other.
Frida, in her 20s, marries the much older, mature artist, Diego Rivera. He adores women, and women adore him. Frida`s relatives probably dislike the marriage, then accept their daughter’s choice. Meanwhile, Diego has been married twice, and none of his wives remember their time with him as a good experience. At all times, Diego’s art is designed to emphasize a political point of view. People are persuaded of their opinions and mindset. Thus, Diego is a communist, fighting for a political system similar to the USSR, which is an embarrassment for Frida’s parents. But Diego and Frida are more than family and not an ordinary couple. Everyone sees Diego as a brutal man who doesn’t look upon a woman as anything more than a beautiful object. So, when he meets Frida, nobody takes it seriously.
But Frida and Diego are friends, initially, then competitors, and finally lovers. Inspired by feelings and shared differences, as Diego is a conformist and Frida inhabits a world of fantasy, their dynamic pulls them forward to new goals and what matters, guaranteed support and understanding. They go through life together, through fame and universal recognition.
Uniting Male and Female
On the technical side, the movie features famous artists. Thus, in addition to Salma and Valeria Golino (as Diego’s ex-wife, who also appeared in Barry Levinson’s movie “Rain Man”), the movie also features Antonio Banderas and Diego Luna. The images onscreen closely reflect Frida’s imagination, showing how she deals with all the events that happen in her life and the impact they have on her works.
Picturesque characters appear in her paintings when she feels pain or happiness, with animals appearing with Frida`s head or even in the form of twins, male and female, connected by one heart. The director shows her love connections openly and courageously. Married though they are, Diego and Frida both cheat, including Frida’s fling with another woman. In the paintings where Frida seems twinned with men, she emphasizes her divided personality and merges the male and female sex. She wears men’s clothes and copis men’s behavior. I also get the impression that, uniting male and female inside was the special characteristic that caused Diego to experience a lifelong love for Frida.
The plot combines psychological aspects. The more Frida struggles internally, the more she wears colorful clothes and accessories. That’s why we can take her motley icon as a rejection of all the problems she has. However, tracing the images from her paintings or vice versa, it is she who puts her beginnings in the majority of her images.
Prepare to Be Seduced
Visually, the movie reflects the details of Frida’s life and her milieu. With skillful camera work and a tinted ambiance in the picture, it reveals a beautiful, colorful world with the intent of showing how Kahlo observed it. From my point of view, this movie is not a standard biopic drama about a famous artist. Although in recent decades directors have created other movies to reflect the authors’ styles, as is the case with this one.
Frida created varying genres of pictures, without strict rules, but with the gut feelings of the artist. So the images on the screen move quickly and fluctuate, just like her visions, and also when connected to Diego Rivera. Personally, I remember the bus crash in slow motion, and probably it will be one of the really impressive moments for other viewers.
Yellow lemons, a gold rush, a blue tint in the picture. Even glass fragments complete the composition of the shoot. What is the most grueling challenge in directing a movie about the life of a famous artist? At the very least, the director should be immersed in the scenery and penetrate into the artist’s feelings, getting the main idea of what the artist lived and meant, in order to keep on track with the protagonist.
The description of the movie – “Prepare to be seduced” – was conjured up not only for its effectiveness. However, it applied to everyone who was involved in making the film. The main heroes were seduced by their roles, the director was seduced by the atmosphere, and the others on the team were seduced by the action. It also suits all who celebrate their own lives – on the way to yourself, prepare to be seduced, as nothing is more powerful than that thing you came for!
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