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THE TWO FRIDAS

Mexico, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Documentaries)

Director: Rodrigo Castaño

Out of the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City comes this portrait of artist Frida Kahlo, a luminary of the Mexican Modernist movement. Where the recent feature Frida presented a sketchy reproduction, Rodrigo Castano's documentary offers a kaleidoscopic view of the painter unencumbered by Hollywood convention.

The Two Fridas candidly and vividly explores the life of an artist who refused to be constrained by social dictates about gender or propriety, or by her crushing injury. This beautifully assembled film draws upon significant details of Frida's life, namely, her legendary nonconformity, bisexuality, chronic illness and her tempestuous relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera, and considers how these elements shaped her anarchic life and artistic creativity. Kahlo's powerful autobiographical portraits—surreal collisions of religion, desire and maternal agony—are complemented by a series of interviews with family and friends and by an array of photographs and archival footage, to underscore the essential vitality and defiance of Frida. A fascinating and timely documentary.

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