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Monday, February 7, 2011

Review of film: “FRIDA”


Review of film:  FRIDA

      Art & Politics can make a STRANGE & Difficult Mix!

         Rating: 6.5 of 10 stars  (based on a screening at Chicago’s Cultural Center). =

This was the 15th & last film in the FREE every-Wednesday Summer series of foreign films hosted by the CHICAGO INT’L. FILM FESTIVAL in the Claudia Cassidy Theatre.  This day was the 199th Anniversary of Mexican Independence, & thus today’s film was appropriately from Mexico--  in the form of a Paul Leduc movie from 1986:

  This covered the life of artist Frida Kahlo [Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón, played by OFELIA MEDINA], done as a series of impressions from her experiences:  [after her birth on July 6, 1907];  a childhood accident that crippled her;  Frida’s involvement with muralist Diego Rivera (portrayed by JUAN JOSÉ GURROLA) & fervently following & supporting his interest in Communist Party causes…

  It also deals with her close relationship with Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky [who was exiled from Russia by Stalin in 1928] until he was assassinated in Mexico [in 1940]; various other bisexual relationships she had;  her growing body of work in art; her having to cope with horrible leg & other medical problems;  & her passing [on July 13, 1954]…

  Ofelia does a fine job in her passionate portrayal, altho the recurrent lack of dialogue & (to me) periodic over-reliance on symbolism at times makes the film somewhat hard to “take” & really enjoy.  It does cover a goodly number of her vividly painted pieces of art, and as a biopic, it’s reasonably effective… 

  In large part due to the full houses achieved this year, the Chicago Int’l Film Festival will increase their “Summer” series of free films to 25 weeks in 2010, in concert with the Cultural Center & various foreign governmental bodies-- in addition to their yearly Festival (the 45th version of which will run from October 8-21 in 2009)…

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