Navigating Between Truth and Invention in Frida

With 2002’s Frida, Julie Taymor brought her bold imagination to the dramatic life story of a singular artist: the iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Made just five years after she found staggering success on Broadway with The Lion King, Taymor’s film—now available to stream on the Criterion Channel—is a visually rich, powerfully performed portrait of the iconoclastic surrealist Kahlo (Salma Hayek) and the turbulent times she lived through, focusing in particular on her relationship with her lover, muralist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina). As Taymor says in the above clip, taken from a new interview featured alongside the film on the Channel, Frida represented quite a departure for her, especially after the Grand Guignol of her film debut, the acclaimed Shakespeare adaptation Titus (1999). The director also discusses how she negotiated the tension between historical fact and creative interpretation inherent in the biopic form, as well as her own identification with her subject. To watch the rest of the interview, and to cue up the vibrant Frida, make way to the Channel.

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