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'Frida' review: Punchy documentary on queen of kitsch

The documentary comes alive not just because of its inventive animation of Frida’s famous artworks and the slow staining of archival footage but also because of the artist’s unconventional thoughts, her sometimes cheeky, other times blunt but always penetrating observations of life and people, selected from her illustrated diary and performed viscerally by voice artist Fernanda Echevarría del Rivero.
Last Updated : 06 April 2024, 05:35 IST
Last Updated : 06 April 2024, 05:35 IST

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Frida
4/5
Director:Carla Gutierrez

You may not have heard of her name, but you would have seen her face. On mugs, on graffiti-ridden walls, in art galleries, on T-shirts — I have spotted a car sticker too, right here in Bengaluru.

Frida Kahlo finally gets a documentary worth her legacy. “I paint because I need to,” she says at the beginning of the film and the enduring magic of her art is a testament to this sentiment. She of the trailblazing unibrow stare — the defiant feminist who didn’t care if she was one, the surrealist who didn’t want to be labelled so — the exceptional Mexican painter of self-portraits in vibrant dreamscapes (though she disagrees and says her paintings were expressions of her real life that was neither dreamy nor surrealist).

The documentary comes alive not just because of its inventive animation of Frida’s famous artworks and the slow staining of archival footage but also because of the artist’s unconventional thoughts, her sometimes cheeky, other times blunt but always penetrating observations of life and people, selected from her illustrated diary and performed viscerally by voice artist Fernanda Echevarría del Rivero. There’s a punchy, earthy quality to the delivery, which gives the viewer the feel of live commentary — as if Frida herself is the third person making snide remarks on her life unfolding before her eyes — be it her life-changing accident, her passion for Diego Rivera, her artist husband and habitual womaniser, her constant physical suffering and her many affairs with both men and women. Frida’s laconic humour about the French love for lazing around in cafes will make you chuckle while her intrinsic stoicism about pain, her constant companion, will make you marvel.

A must-watch, not just if you have always admired her but also because it makes you feel as if you are in the presence of inexplicable greatness.

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Published 06 April 2024, 05:35 IST

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