European Cinema Night 2022: Frida. Viva La Vida

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European Cinema Night 2022: Frida. Viva La Vida

7 December 2022 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Post-film discussion will follow with Nikki Petroni

Frida Kahlo, the artist who more than any other was able to build an autobiography through pictures, could tell her story with such intensity: physical pain, her miscarriages, the tragedy of love and betrayal, and her political commitment. After her death, Frida became a pop icon who could draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to exhibitions dedicated to her, as well as inspire books, comics, songs, films and even fashion shows.

But who was Frida in real life? And how much energy and vitality are released from her paintings even when they portray pain and suffering?

FRIDA. VIVA LA VIDA, the documentary-film directed by Giovanni Troilo, produced by Ballandi Arts and Nexo Digital, presents the six chapters of a journey in search of Frida, into the heart of Mexico, amid cactuses, monkeys, deer and parrots, alternating exclusive interviews, with period documents, evocative reconstructions and works by Kahlo herself, including the most famous self-portraits (from the one with Diego Rivera in 1931 to The Two Fridas in 1939, from The Broken Column of 1944 to The Wounded Deer of 1946).

It highlights the two souls of Frida Kahlo (1907-1954): on one hand the icon and symbol of contemporary feminism, and on the other the artist, free, despite the constraints of a tortured body. Frida, who contracted polio at the age of six and was the victim of a road accident, at eighteen, that left her disabled, had to live with the severe pain she would suffer from until her death. Nevertheless, thanks to her painting but also to her writing, her way of dressing, her unmistakable style, over the years Kahlo has become a role model that has influenced artists, musicians and designers. Her importance as a figure has gone as far as to exceed her prominence as an artist thanks to the intensity and determination with which she faced a life of suffering. Pain, although an essential part of her work, is not enough to explain the reasons for such a widespread, unanimous achievement: in Frida’s work there is also a perpetual bond with inner strength and love, with the vital energy of her country and its colours.

Actress and director Asia Argento will lead the viewer to discover the two faces of the painter, following a common thread consisting of Frida’s own words: letters, diaries and private confessions. The viewer will discover how the painter’s work has its roots in traditional 19th Century painting, in Mexican ‘retablos’, as well as in the art and commitment of the men of her time, from lifelong companion, Diego Rivera, to Trotsky. Moreover, after the 1910 revolution, Mexico attempted to rediscover its origins through pre-Columbian iconography in which Frida also explored the true meaning of opposites: pain and pleasure, darkness and light, moon and sun, life in death and death in life. Retracing the life of Frida Kahlo will therefore mean looking for the point of contact between the suffering marking the events in her life and her unconditional love for art.

For the very first time, the documentary will show photographs, clothes and other personal items belonging to Frida, kept in the archives of the Frida Kahlo Museum and normally not accessible to the public, as well as original prints of photographs taken by Graciela Iturbide during the opening of Frida’s bathroom in 2004.

There will also be accounts and contributions given by experts and artists: Hilda Trujillo who, since 2002, has been director of the Frida Kahlo Museum, one of the three most visited museums in Mexico City, located in Azul House, once the painter’s home, as well as the Anahuacalli Museum; the Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide; stone-mason and labourer Alfredo Vilchis, who became an artist, quite by chance, painting miniatures; the photographer Cristina Kahlo, Frida’s great-niece; Wellesley College art teacher and assistant curator of Latin American Art at the Davis Museum, James Oles; Carlos Phillips, managing director of the Frida Kahlo Museum, the Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli and the Dolores Olmedo Museum; the dancer Laura Vargas.

Ticket Information

Cinema Club Members
Concession tickets include students, senior citizens and Special ID Holders (SID).

Additional Information

1 hour 40 mins