Frida Kahlo

The Mexican artist’s myriad faces, stranger-than-fiction biography and powerful paintings come to vivid life in a new film

Frida Kahlo (Wikimedia Commons)
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Kahlo remained a dedicated leftist. Even as her strength ebbed, she painted portraits of Marx and of Stalin and attended demonstrations. Eight days before she died, Kahlo, in a wheelchair and accompanied by Rivera, joined a crowd of 10,000 in Mexico City protesting the overthrow, by the CIA, of the Guatemalan president.

Although much of Kahlo’s life was dominated by her debilitated physical state and emotional turmoil, Taymor’s film focuses on the artist’s inventiveness, delight in beautiful things and playful but caustic sense of humor. Kahlo, too, preferred to emphasize her love of life and a good time. Just days before her death, she incorporated the words Viva La Vida (Long Live Life) into a still life of watermelons. Though some have wondered whether the artist may have intentionally taken her own life, others dismiss the notion. Certainly, she enjoyed life fully and passionately. “It is not worthwhile,” she once said, “to leave this world without having had a little fun in life.”


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