Frida Kahlo and Post-Revolutionary Mexican Art

The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo

PBS (2005)

Film Review

This documentary offers insightful background into Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo, the first Mexican painter to be exhibited in the Louvre.

Lahlo, who was bisexual, was the wife of the celebrated communist mural painter Diego Rivera. She was also briefly lovers with Leon Trotsky and his wife and allowed the latter and his wife to stay in her family home when they fled to Mexico in their efforts to escape Stalin’s agents.

It was via Trotsky she met the French surrealist painter Andre Breton. It was Breton who introduced her to the art world by organizing shows for her in New York and Paris.

For me the most interesting part of the film was its depiction of the post-revolutionary cultural revival that produced her and Rivera. It seems to have been very similar to post-revolutionary Russian and Spanish art. In all three cases there was a creative explosion as artists and intellectuals threw off centuries of cultural oppression in seeking to discover their authentic selves. At the time, many believed Mexico would follow Russia in creating a socialist workers state.