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Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Antonio Banderas, Ashley Judd, Geoffrey Rush

Directed by: Julie Taymor
Written by: Rodrigo García, Clancy Sigal, Diane Lake, Gregory Nava, Anna Thomas, Edward Norton
Produced by: Lizz Speed, Jay Polstein, Nancy Hardin, Liz Speed, Lindsay Flickinger, Salma Hayek, Sarah Green
Distributor: Miramax Films

US: 25/10/02
UK: 28/02/03

True story of a one-legged Mexican painter and 20th century icon Frida Kahlo (Hayek. (No... it's not a Monty Python sketch). Flick focuses on her often rocky relationship with husband Diego Rivera (Molina), and their place in Mexican society. Included in the mix will be David Siqueiros (Banderas), Rivera's rival in the Mexican art world, Tina Modotti (Judd), a famed Italian photographer, and Nelson Rockefeller (Norton), who famously contracted Rivera to paint the lobby mural of Rockefeller Center, only to renege because it included a portrait of Lenin. Others in their social circle included Russian leader and refugee Leon Trotsky (Rush) (soon before Stalin had him assassinated there), muralist Jean Charlot, painter Pablo O'Higgins, composer Silvestre Revueltas, and photographer Edward Weston. In addition to being a great artist, Frida Kahlo was also a bisexual and a communist, struggling with an abusive husband, a life of wracking pain following a trolley accident, the amputation of a leg, and finally, drug and alcohol abuse that killed her at age 47.

Atlanta Journal/E! Online
Entertainment Weekly/LA Times
New York Post/New York Times
Hollywood Reporter/Reel Reviews
Slant Magazine/The Independent

Ebert & Roeper
Dave Reviews Out Loud

Selma Hayek gives Ashley Judd the once over - in a purely artistic sense of course.



Hayek's long-cherished bio of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo finally makes it to the screen, and the film itself is a work of art, thanks to superior performances and the artistic imagery of director Taymor (Titus). Hayek also gets the role of her career as Kahlo. The film starts in the early 1920s just before Frida is horribly injured in a bus accident, causing life-long health problems but pushing her to express herself through painting. The story traces her family life, her involvement in the lively art scene in Mexico, New York and Paris, her two marriages to another artist Diego Rivera (Molina) and her affair with Leon Trotsky (Rush). Intriguingly, it presents her as a woman who never recognises the impact of her work on others, even though everyone around her is deeply moved by her paintings. Taymor cleverly weaves in Kahlo's visual sense throughout the film. There's nothing subtle about this; at times it's a little annoying in that it keeps us at a distance from the characters, but it opens up Kahlo's work for us to feel her passion as an artist. Hayek plays the role beautifully--with energy and life, both brightly funny and seriously hot-blooded. And Molina is fantastic as Rivera, creating a full-bodied character we both like and distrust in equal measure. Meanwhile, a strong cast of big names play the intriguing people moving in and out of their life. Technically the film looks amazing, washed with colours in some scenes, drained to almost monochrome in others, with excellent costumes, makeup, cinematography and especially Elliot Goldenthal's music. Still, the whole thing is a bit too mannered to let us in personally. It's more observational than involving. But what an amazing story to watch.


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