Frida  (2002)


Starring: Selma Hayek, Alfred Molina

Director: Julie Taymor

Rating: R

Studio: Buena Vista

Release Date: 6.10.03

Review Posted: 6.10.03

Spoilers: None


By John Teves




Julie Taymor directs this Oscar-winning biopic of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek), focusing on her often rocky relationship with husband Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina). Also known for her controversial political and sexual reputation (she was a communist and a bisexual), Frida struggled with a life of wracking pain following an accident, the amputation of a leg, and finally, drug and alcohol abuse that killed her at age 47.


The Video


FRIDA appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture is absolutely sharp and certainly spotless. FRIDA proved to be consistently positive in respects to itís video transfer. Sharpness was solid. The film looked crisp and detailed. I noticed no signs of softness or fuzziness through out the presentation. Jagged edges offered no concerns, and I noticed no signs of edge enhancement. In regards to print flaws, I saw a couple of spots but they were small and pretty inconsequential. Color was accurate. All tones were clear, natural and brilliant. Black levels and shadow detail was appropriately thick but not overly deep. Ultimately, EMPIRE presented a very satisfying picture.


The Audio


FRIDA is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which for the most part provided a a solid encounter. The film predominantly came across as a quite drama, however the mix showed nice ambiance and created a convincing atmosphere during the appropriate scenes. Dialogue was crisp and natural, with no signs of edginess. Music was brilliant and clear, and it showed nice dynamic range, as did the sound effects. Those effects always came across as apparent and realistic, and during those louder scenes, they packed a genuine thrash. All in all, FRIDA provided a dependable listening event.


The Extras

  • Disc 1: Feature film with commentary by director Julie Taymor

  • Selected scenes commentary with composer Elliot Goldenthal

  • A conversation with Salma Hayek

  • Disc 2: American Film Institute Q&A with director Julie Taymor

  • Bill Moyers interview with Julie Taymor

  • Chavela Vargas interview

  • The voice of Lila Downs

  • The vision of Frida: with Rodrigo Prieto and Julie Taymor

  • The design of Frida: with Felipe Fernandez

  • The music of Frida: with Elliot Goldenthal and Salma Hayek

  • Salma Hayek's recording session

  • Bringing Frida Kahlo's life and art to film: a walk through real locations

  • Portrait of an artist

  • "Amobea Proteus" visual FX

  • "The Brothers Quay" visual FX

  • Frida Kahlo facts

  • Theatrical trailer(s)



Nominated for six 2002 Academy Awards including Best Actress for Selma Hayek; FRIDA archives the true-life story of renowned Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek) who was crippled at a young age and suffered through massive amounts of pain due to her twisted back. Astonishingly Frida comes back from her injuries and marries her mentor and famed painter Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) and their life together echoed their many works in explicit detail. Diego had an unquenchable taste for sex and women which tormented there lifelong bond. Frida lived a daring and sorrowful life but produced some of the most attention-grabbing art of her generation.


As a film, FRIDA is bold and appealing. Itís a film that captures the mind of this tormented soul. Hayek is incredible as Frida. Besides the performances there is quite a triumph in direction as there are phenomenal blends between Fridaís art and real-life. The demanding part about FRIDA is the filmís duration; it feels long as it constantly keeps slugging at Frida's agonizing existence with and without Diego. In general the performances were excellent but it was just way too long to keep a viewer enthralled.


The DVD presents excellent picture quality, basic audio and a very reasonable amount of extras. I can only recommend the DVD to individuals who enjoy this type of biographical drama.


DVD Rating: 4 out of 4


Review originally appeared on DVDFreak.net




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