Arts & Entertainment

Sundance: ‘Frida’ explores life of famous artist

PARK CITY, Utah — “Frida” is the simple title of an artistically-sophisticated film documentary biopic at the Sundance Film Festival about the life and death of world-famous painter from Mexico, Frida Kahlo.

Before the sold-out premiere started on Thursday at The Ray Theater, Director Carla Gutiérrez took the microphone and told the filmgoers, “Filmmaking is not a solitary endeavor, thank f—— God!” This statement received robust applause; not only was that foreshadowing for similar expletives taken literally off the pages of Kahlo’s profoundly personal dairies, but it preceded one the largest gatherings of filmmakers on the post-showing Q and A stage.

The enormous crew takes the stage after their film, Frida, for the Q & A.
The enormous crew takes the stage after their film, “Frida,” for the Q & A. Photo: Michele Roepke // TownLift

This film, with English subtitles of the Spanish narration, creatively combined film effects of archival stock footage from the era and area, popular paintings, New York Times newspaper headlines, people of Paris and animation, seamlessly melding it all together under a score of magnificent Mexican music.

Rarely seen pre-pubescent, pre-trolley-car accident photos of Frida show her early life experiences.

Frida Director Gutierez (center) speaking with fans after her premier.
“Frida” Director Gutiérrez (center) speaking with fans after her premiere. Photo: Kirsten Kohlwey // TownLift

No surprise that Frida and her two-time-marriage to painter Diego Rivera had extramarital affairs by both, however, the Frida-savvy Sundance crowd let out an audible gasp at the revelation of one certain American female painter’s famous name on the not-so-short list of willing participants.

Frida shares deep insights and opinions to political movements and historical heroes therein as well as her disdain for  some of the high-class gallery-goers of the time.

Julie Cohen an Executive Director (right) of Frida and one of the films talented animators at the Red Carpet event.
Julie Cohen an executive director (right) of Frida and one of the films talented animators at the red carpet event. Photo: Kirsten Kohlwey // TownLift

Gutierez added at the podium, “I am one just of millions of people who have a special relationship with Frida, she is ours.” to which the audience not only applauded but gleefully hooted and hollered in solidarity.

TV journalist JuJu Chang attends the film, Frida.
TV journalist JuJu Chang attends the film, “Frida.” Photo: Michele Roepke // TownLift

Although the majority of the filmmakers had life-long Mexican familial connections, the successful American producing duo of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are credited as executive producers on “Frida.”

Everyone gets to vote on Sundance’s efficient, effective event app, and from this “Frida” fan, the film gets a three out of four stars.

Adaptive Assistive Listening Devices available to audiences at all Sundance screenings.
Adaptive Assistive Listening Devices available to audiences at all Sundance screenings. Photo: Michele Roepke // TownLift
Service dogs invited inside all Sundance screenings.
Service dogs invited inside all Sundance screenings. Photo: Michele Roepke // TownLift

Frida audience member wearing his creatively cool Blockbuster Logo earings.
“Frida” audience member wearing his creatively cool Blockbuster Logo earrings. Photo: Michele Roepke

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