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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Taymor's Frida
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.098  Tuesday, 21 January 2003

From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Monday, January 20, 2003 7:19 PM
Subject:        Taymor's Frida

[Editor's Note: I'll let this go, but responses should be sent DIRECTLY
to Richard Burt at <
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 >.  -Hardy]

I hope Hardy will indulge me for taking an auteur approach to
Shakespeare on film in order to ask if others on the list have seen
Julie Taymor's biopic, Frida, and, if so, what they thought of it.  I
just saw it yesterday and was really wowed.  I thought it was very
beautiful, sensuous (great colors, food, drink, and sex), and often
moving.  It's SO much better than Ttitus (which I liked a lot, except
for the frame).  All of Taymor's pet obsessions are there, as are the
kinds of special effects in the Penny Arcades Nightmare sequences of
Titus, but they are much more imaginative and, much better executed, and
much more fully integrated into the film.  The sequence involving the
bus crash which broke Khalo's back is particularly spectacular,
especially the final shot, an overhead, in which gold leaf settles in
slow motion on Khalo's unconscious and broken body.  Equally compelling
are sequences in which paintings come to life or vice versa, in which
the film is black and white with tinted colors, like 20s postcards, or
in which actors turn into film characters, as when Khalo imagines her
husband, Diego Rivera, turning into King Kong and we see the final
sequence of that film redone with Khalo as Fay Wray and Rivera as Kong.
Elliot Goldenthal's Golden Globe for his musical score was
well-deserved. It's excellent.  Given the quite hot sexual numbers, some
clothed like a tango Khalo has with Tina Modetti (Ashley Judd), some
naked like the one she has with Josephine Baker (uncredited), I'm not
surprised that Madonna wanted the part (she owns some Khalo paintings
too).   I like Madonna well enough, but I was really glad the role went
to Hayek.  Despite how extremely beautiful she is, especially in
comparison with Khalo, she does bear an amazing resemblance, and Hayek's
beauty is not a distraction.  There were also some pleasing cameos, such
as Edward Norton as John D. Rockefeller Jr and Geoffrey Rush as Trotsky.
So end of gush.

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