Julie Taymore's Frida is a rather accurate portrayal of the popular surrealist movement as it leads us through a journey of the life of Frida Kahlo, and introduces us to the new and true thinkers of the time, her friends and colleagues. The movie seeks to convey, through the use of cinematography, that Frida Kahlo's very life was surrealist and it showed in her political activities, social relationships, as well as needless to say her artwork
Through the use of cinematography, Julie Taymore reinforces the messages of Kahlo's artwork, often pushing us through a window and into the canvass. Breath of life is blown onto Kahlo's works to make us fully understand the emotion it possesses while transitioning between eras in her life. A very lasting impression is left when we see the typical paper mache skeleton used during the day of the dead festivals atop her canopy in Frida Kahlo's The Dream set the entire painting on fire when the fire crackers tied to it begin to explode as she asleep in her bed, floats through the sky.
Although her paintings serve as a voice and an outlet, Taymore took a more direct approach in presenting Kahlo frequently having an active role in the socialist movement. Surrealist artists are famous for having been socialist, and the movie shows Kahlo's life to be true to that infamy. A few of her paintings, for example Self-Portrait on the Border Line Between Mexico and the United States, exude her desire of an unspoiled Mexican culture as well as her distaste for the polluted, capitalist and synthetic United States. Her husband, Diego Rivera, comes to share her view as is reflected in the movie after a short stay in New York where his politically driven mural, commissioned by the Rockefellers, is being destroyed for being heavily socialist in nature. Their entire lives were shown to revolve around these ideals through their friendships and relationships within their community and it was reflected in their artwork.
The movie presented many of their friends, most artists, as just as politically savvy as they. Their circle included those such as Tina Modotti, a leftist model/actress, David Alfaro Siqueiros, a Stalinist muralist, and Leon Trotsky who would be one of Frida's most infamous conquests. Their devotion to the cause was such that they harbored Trotsky, an ex-Commissar for the Army and Navy for the former Soviet Union avoiding assassination, while he was in exile in Mexico. Diego Rivera's passion for Marxist ideology and respect for Trotsky, a Marxist icon, is shown as he's honored to hide Trotsky, his wife, and secretary in his home, while Frida's passion and respect for the same are reflected in her affair with Trotsky.
Julie Taymore's Frida potrays surrealist ideals that Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera lived by. Through biographically accurate plot, and cinematic language she shows educates us on the essence of surrealism as shown in their political activities, social relationships, as well as needless to say Frida Kahlo's artwork.