Frida (1986)



Director:  Paul Leduc.

Starring:  Ofelia Medina (Frida Kahlo), Juan Jos Gurrola (Diego Rivera), Max Kerlow (Leon Trotsky), Claudio Brook (Guillermo Kahlo), Salvador Snchez (David Alfaro Siqueiros), Cecilia Toussaint (Fridás Sister), Ziwta Kerlow (Trotsky's Wife), Valentina Leduc Navarro (Young Frida), Lolita Cortez (Sister of young Frida), Gina Morett (Nurse), Margarita Sanz (Friend), Juan ngel Martnez (Wood worker), Franois Lartigue (Photographer).

the life and paintings of Frida Kahlo (married to the great muralist Diego Rivera)


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire movie.

The movie starts with a lot of scenes skipping around in chronological time. 

Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts).   A coffin is on exhibit.  Men come in and drape a hammer and cycle flag over it.

Older Frida sick.

Frida in a wheel chair painting.

The muralist Diego Rivera comes in and gives Frida a necklace. 

Frida listening to music at a celebration of the Day of the Dead.

Frida severely hurt in a bus accident. 

Older Frida remembering the pain of the accident.

Her portrait of two Fridas with exposed hearts and tubes going from one Frida to the other. 

Frida's father takes her and her sister's picture when they were young girls.

Frida in her bath tub coloring her half body cast. She falls asleep in the tub. 

Diego Rivera working on a mural.  Frida with a luncheon basket wheels herself over to Diego's workplace. 

Frida at a Vive Zapata rally.  Men with guns arrive.  Frida exposes the pistol she has in a holster under her dress.

Happy New Year's celebration. 

The back of a nude Frida.  She is bleeding and is upset by it. 

Frida moaning in pain. 

Young Frida dresses like Charlie Chaplin. 

Young Frida in the hospital with her nurse.  Her father presents her with paints.

Her father playing with string puppets for her and her sister.  Her leg is already in a brace.  A pillow fight follows.

Throwing political fliers over a railing.

At the cemetery she places flowers on her father's grave. 

Older Frida smoking. 

Older Frida examining the preparations for her art exhibit.

Her sister posing nude with Easter lilies for her husband Diego Rivera: "With my sister too?!"  Later Diego asks for her forgiveness.

Diego painting two black female models. 

Frida burns some photographs of Diego.

Frida in bed dying to have another cigarette.

Frida and Diego listen to Sigueiros talking negatively about Trotsky.  Diego responds that it is not Trotsky but Stalin who is the problem.  One of the servants brings dinner for Trotsky.  Diego and Trotsky play cards.  Frida watches.  At Indian ruins Frida and Diego have their picture taken with Trotsky.  Trotsky writes Frida a love letter.  She reads the letter and then when she sees him gives it back to him. 

Would-be Trotsky assassins dressed in police uniforms, are let into the compound of the Riveras by someone on the take inside, shoot up Trotsky's room.  He and his wife escape death by hiding beneath the bed in the room.  Diego takes himself out of the communist party.

Diego and Frida watch newsreels in the movies that contain scenes with Hitler.  One of the audience members starts clapping for Hitler and Frida curses him.

Frida has an unsuccessful pregnancy.  Pictures of the atomic bomb explosion.  She attends the funeral of the many peasants killed when they dare to protest.  Diego and Frida march in a protest.  Frida embraces her photographer lovingly. 

Frida bites her nails frantically.  Starting in the kitchen, she makes love to her female friend.   Frida has her right leg amputated. 

Frida is brought on a transportable hospital bed to her art exhibition.  She is very pleased with the attention she receives.  Frida participates in another demonstration.

Diego takes the hammer and cycle flag off Frida's coffin.  As he leaves he shouts "Frida!  Frida!  Frida!"


Good movie.  Luckily I had seen the Salma Hayek movie about Frida because I would not have been able to follow much of this older movie without the knowledge I had gained from the Salma Hayek movie.  The first half of the film jumps around too much going from young Frida to old Frida to middle-aged Frida and then begins jumping all over again. The film also leaves out a lot.  For instance, there were two attempts on the life of Trotsky.  The first one (with the machine guns) failed, while the second one (with an ice axe) succeeded.  The movie did show a lot of Frida Kahlo de Rivera's paintings, which was very nice.   

Patrick Louis Cooney,  Ph. D. 


Historical Background:

Frida (2003).


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