Saturday, May 08, 2004


Am happy that I managed to discover Frida amongst the tightly packed stack of pirated DVDs (not proud of it but it’s practically the only way to watch wonderful movies like this, uncensored if they weren’t banned in the first place).

Salma Hayek is the Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo, whose vivid, unreal paintings literally come to life in the movie (props to the visual FX people). Directed by Julie Taymor, the movie focuses on her tumultuous marriage with muralist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), who is forever cheating on her. (She gets her own back when she sleeps with Trotsky who is played by Geoffrey Rush).

If I had to give a one word impression of the movie, it’d be colours. The vivid colours of the Mexican life, Kahlo’s paintings, and her undulating emotions throughout the movie. Hayek’s performance was superb – very forceful yet tender.

I know enough about movies based on real life to realize that often enough (if not all the time), they only reflect a biased impression of what actually happened (hello Black Hawk Down). Online criticism of Frida points out that the movie glosses over the real reason Trotsky moved out of the Blue House, for example. Nevertheless, I think the movie has succeeded in arousing the viewer's curiosity for its protagonist. If there were better bookstores and libraries in town, I’d be scouring for more Frida Kahlo information.

The special features of the DVD are excellent. Here’s the rundown of what you get:
1. A conversation with Salma Hayek (I want her necklace!)
2. Commentary with Julie Taymor (very informative)
3. Commentary with Elliot Goldenthal
4. AFI Julie Taymor Q & A
5. Bill Moyers interview
6. Chabela Uargas interview
7. The voice of Lila Downs (Frida deservingly won the Oscar of the Best Original Score and that woman’s voice is incredible)
8. Bringing Frida Kahlo’s life and art of film (a walk through the real locations)
9. Potrait of an Artist
10. Amoeba Proteus visual FX piece
11. The Brother Quay visual FX piece
12. Frida Kahlo Facts

Whew! Still with me? I’d definitely buy the original DVD when I get a chance to (actually, I’d say that for most of the DVDs that I own). The only illegal DVDs I refuse to buy are of the LOTR trilogy. Why bother when you can get the original in town? And yes, they are absolutely worth every single sen!

If you’re still unconvinced that you should watch Frida, may I say: Salma rolling around neked with a woman. Wowzers.