The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo

Frida KahloThis historical documentary about this extraordinary woman will forever remain fresh and relevant. Originally released in 2005, it is rich with poignant images and interviews providing some insight into this enigmatic woman.

Her ethnicity is mixed: German, Jewish and Indian, yet, Frida is recalled as ‘authentically Mexican’. She will always be remembered clad in her glorious interpretation of the traditional Tehuana style of dress. Her personal motive was to hide her terrible injuries and spinal supports. I found it astounding that someone so flamboyantly and sexually alive actually had any hidden disabilities.

Her quest to transcend physical limitations via art was tremendously successful although she seemed somewhat oblivious to her own talent. She lived shadowed by the fame of her husband, Diego Rivera who I had never heard of.

He is very accurately described as ‘undeniable ugly’. I also agree with her mother’s comparison of the couple as ‘an elephant and a dove’. I’m still wondering how he managed to have all those affairs with women he somehow magnetically attracted. Sadly, this included Frida’s own dear sister.

It is impossible in one review to capture or reflect the multi-dimensions of both the documentary and its subject. Suffice to say it is an excellent documentary about an extraordinary woman who loved a repulsive man. It was a privilege to learn more about Frida Kahlo and to view her serene beauty captured in portrait and photographs, particularly the ones without her husband.

The documentary was screened by Films For Change at the Elizabeth Picture Theatre, Brisbane on 7 August 2019. Drawing upon original footage, photos, paintings and interviews, The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo is produced, directed and written by Amy Stechler.

There was a wonderful vibe in the theatre where the film was shown to a mainly female audience. Some wore Frida type clothing. Others sprawled on the carpeted floor beneath the screen eating popcorn. I hope this documentary continues to resurface and finds an ongoing global viewership.

An encore screening of The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo will take place at the Elizabeth Picture Theatre, Brisbane on Wednesday 21 August 2019 – 7.30pm. For more information and tickets, visit: for details.

Image: Frida Kahlo (sourced)

Review: Michele-Rose Boylan