• Inspirations


Films, documentaries


The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo (2005)

"The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo" chronicles the life and art of the great Mexican painter as never before, framing Kahlo's life in relationship to the historical and cultural influences that inspired her and defined the first half of the 20th century. The 90-minute high-definition film is a production of Daylight Films and WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Latino Public Broadcasting. It premieres March 23, 2005, at 9 p.m., on PBS stations nationwide. (Check local listings.)

Visit the website dedicated to this TV documentary

youtube link to full documentary



"Frida" (2002)
"Frida", directed by Julie Taymor, stars Salma Hayek (Frida), Alfred Molina (Diego Rivera), Antonio Banderas (David Alfaro Siqueiros), Ashley Judd (Tina Modotti) and many others.


Internet Movie Database
articol from El Andar tells us the story of the "Hollywood's long, slow race to make the definitive Frida Kahlo film





Great Women Artists: Frida Kahlo (2001)

This documentary is part of a series that profiles outstanding women artists. This volume focuses on the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. As a young girl, Kahlo suffered terrible injuries in a traffic accident. Her lifelong struggle with pain shaped and informed her art. Her bold style and emotionally charged works capture the passion she displayed in all aspects of her life. Married to the muralist Diego Rivera, she was great friends with Leon Trotsky, whose philosophy she embraced. This documentary presents some of Kahlo's best-known paintings.



"Frida Kahlo's Corset" (2000) 

Frida Kahlo's Corset is a short experimental drama that follows a journey of transformation by Frida who wore
a series of orthopaedic corsets because of impairment. The film draws on Kahlo's own words and characteristically
bold painting style. It refutes the picture of Kahlo's life as one of tragedy and suffering. As Liz Crow said in an interesting
interview "She struggled, true, but as an absolute survivor, not a victim. So in the film the corset is both literal and symbolic
. It's literally an assault on her sense of her self, but the corset and the way it's applied are also symbols of colonisation
- one of the major themes of her work - in this case the medical colonisation of the body. The film shows a journey of
transformation as she establishes a new sense of self."

(UK/Sp 2000) 16mm: 10 min. Director: Liz Crow, Production Company: Infinite Blue Productions Picture This Moving Image,
Production Design: Melanie Leeson,
editor: Andy Moss, music/composer: Caravanserai, Hetty Hope, writer: Liz Crow, Ralph Hoyte, Cast: Isolte Avila, Laura Jerram,
Carmen Brauning.

Contact Info: Melanie Leeson, info@picturethis.demon.co.uk

read the complete interview with Liz Crow 


"A Ribbon Around a Bomb" (1992)

It is hardly enough time to do justice to the passionate life and art of Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter who seems about to
jump off the canvases of her vibrant, fantastic self-portraits. Even more than her accessible art, Kahlo's explosive existence
has made her something of a pop icon in recent years.
That well-documented life is the subject of "Frida Kahlo: A Ribbon Around a Bomb," a part-documentary, part-performance film
published on 1992.

The director Ken Mandel takes a scattershot approach to this material. He weaves together interviews with people who knew Kahlo,
several photographs and films of her, and many shots of her most familiar paintings. Most successfully, he includes excerpts of a
theater piece by Abraham Oceransky called "The Diary of Frida Kahlo," presented by Teatro Dallas.

The documentary sections are extremely weak, because Kahlo's associates are not sufficiently identified, their often spurious opinions
not put in any context. Surely the bloodiness of Kahlo's paintings cannot be traced simply to her one-time ambition to study medicine,
as an interview subject claims. But the dramatized episodes, based on Kahlo's diaries, are surprisingly effective.

Most of this theater piece is a monologue performed by Cora Cardona, sometimes joined by Quigley Provost as a younger Kahlo.
Ms. Cardona does not imitate Kahlo so much as bring the depths of that volcanic, tortured personality to life. Depicting Kahlo's reaction
to her accident, she wraps a large chain around her leg and reveals both pain and astonishing strength as she says: "I am not dead.
I am not sick. I am only broken."

Still, the film, whose subtitle comes from Andre Breton's description of Kahlo's art, is likely to be too shallow for anyone who knows
her story and too sketchy for anyone unfamiliar with it. Ms. Cardona's trenchant performance hints at how illuminating this film might have been.

Directed and edited by Ken Mandel; based on the play by Abraham Oceransky; director of photography, Jeff Hurst; music by John Bryant
and Frank Hames; produced by Mr. Hurst, Mr. Mandel and Cora Cardona; a Roxie release. Performed by: Cora Cardona, Quigley Provost
and Costa Caglage

taken from The New York Times
youtube video


"Diego Rivera: I paint what I see" (1989)

The first biographical film on the famed Mexican artist, "DIEGO RIVERA: I PAINT WHAT I SEE",
directed by Mary Lance, traces his life from childhood through his Cubist period, his leading
role in the Mexican mural renaissance, his fame as a muralist in the USA, and his later years.

The film explores Rivera's life and work, including his stormy relationship with Frida Kahlo
and the destruction of his famous mural at Rockefeller Center.

Shot on location in Mexico and the United States, the film includes a remarkable collection
of archival film and photographs, much of which has not been seen before. The text is drawn
from the writings of Rivera and Kahlo and from other historical texts. Using Rivera's own words,
this richly detailed film brings to life the difficulty he faced in his transition from studio
artist to public and political artist, and the conflicts that arose from that point onward.



"Frida, Naturaleza Viva" (1983)

directed by Paul Leduc, starring Ofelia Medina as Frida Kahlo

Review by Jayne Margetts

"For director Paul Leduc it would have been a difficult task to try to capture facets of Frida's vivid and flamboyant personality and life in any feature-length format, let alone recreating some of the defining moments that shaped the artist she was. But with his grainy and abstract, re-enacted documentary Frida, Naturaleza Viva he has done Kahlo proud in not succumbing to heavy analysis. Rather, he chooses to piece together snapshots of her life with the grace of humility of directing a rustic opera performed to a minimal backdrop.

Review by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Through his eyes we experience Kahlo's stormy relationship with muralist Diego Rivera, her comradeship and sentimentality with the exiled Leon Trotsky, her struggle for acceptance as an artist, her patriotism and love for Mexico her affairs with David Squiros and the horrors of her miscarriage and the amputation of her leg....

Actress Ofelia Medina who portrays Kahlo bears not only an uncanny resemblance, but shares her mannerisms, her dignity and her feverish passion, while Luduc's camera roves silently across the parchment of her sacred paintings capturing the ambience and atmosphere of those troubled and turbulent times in which she lived


Portrait of an Artist: Frida Kahlo (1983)

FRIDA KAHLO (Art Documentary) (2007)



Commentary by Hayden Herrera
Narrated by Sada Thompson
Edited by Caroline Emmonds
Directed by Eila Hershon, Roberto Guerra and Wibke von Bonin


Frida Kahlo & Tina Modotti (1982)

Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen, 30 mins Colour 16 mm film.


A documentary about the lives and work of painter Frida Kahlo and photographer Tina Modotti, divided into sections: History; Popular Life and Culture; Roots and Movements; Biography; Inward/Outward; The Body; Injury/Beauty. Also included is a home movie of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at their 'Blue House' in Coyoacan, and Tina Modotti in the 1919 Hollywood film,The Tigers Coat.

Both Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti were artists working in Mexico in the aftermath of the Revolution, during a period of general cultural awakening and social change. Frida was married to Diego Rivera and was born, worked and died in the same 'blue house' in Coyoacan, while Tina Modotti emigrated to California with her family from Udine, Italy, and travelled to Mexico with Edward Weston, where she then stayed to become a photographer in her own right. The broad similarities between their lives bind the film as a whole, reflecting on the representation of women, women's art and feminist aesthetics; while the differences between them make up the content.

More info at the Luxonline website

youtube video


The Life and Death of Frida Kahlo as Told to Karen and David Crommie" (1966)

In 1965 Karen and David Crommie made this film featuring interviews with many people who knew and worked with Frida and are no longer with us. Frida was quite unknown when the film debuted in 1966 at the San Francisco International Film Festival and when Hayden Herrera saw it at a screening in New York later that year she was motivated to do the book.

And the rest is history.