LOS ANGELES — She is an icon and an artist.

In “Frida,” for the first time, we can hear in Frida Kahlo’s own words about her life journey that Carla Gutiérrez was able to piece together through an illustrated diary, letters, essays, and print interviews.

“Frida” covers over 40 years of Kahlo’s life, and Gutiérrez was given access to both Kahlo’s and Diego Rivera’s work. In an interview with Spectrum News, she explains how both artist’s work belong to the people of Mexico.

(Image courtesy of Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust)

“The beauty of Frida and Diego’s political beliefs is that they were big Communists and believed everything belonged to the people. Their art and writings also belong to the people of Mexico. Banco Mexico is the one that manages the trust. It is a process for licensing like any other process, but anybody can do the request. It is fabulous that we can go to the people of Mexico, and they are ones who own the rights of our Frida and Diego’s art,” said Gutiérrez.

Gutiérrez says she has always connected with Kahlo because she has always felt that Kahlo’s work captured and reflected her emotions. But it’s not just Gutiérrez who has connected with Kahlo, it’s been folks from all walks of life across all generations.

“She has become a symbol,” she said. “She’s a symbol of empowerment. There are really good reasons why so many communities claim her … not only female empowerment, or the Latino community, because she is ours, but also the community of disabled people and the queer community and the bisexual community. One reason her art connects with people even as we move far from her time is that she is so present, and we connect with her because of her rawness and her honesty.”

(Image courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios)

Because there are no recordings for Kahlo’s voice, so for the film “Frida,” it was Fernanda Echeverria, who gave life to Kahlo’s voice. It wasn’t just the quality of Echeveria’s voice, Gutiérrez says, but the emotions poured into the performance that embraced Frida’s spirit.

“She was very mature. She seemed like someone who had experienced pain and experienced loss, but also this freshness and curiosity and passion and desire that Frida always had since she was a little girl. Fernanda was really able to have all those layers in her voice,” said Gutiérrez.

What would Kahlo think of her popularity in today’s world? Gutiérrez thinks she would enjoy it and would be amused how much fun the world is having with her image.

“She would have had fun with it. Maybe she would have complained in funny ways. She would have loved the attention,” said Gutiérrez.

“Frida” marks Gutiérrez’s directorial debut, and it is now streaming on Prime Video.

Click the arrow above to watch the full interview with Carla Gutiérrez. 


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