Frida Julie Taymor

FridaJulie Taymor
Two talented women — actress/producer Salma Hayek and director Julie Taymor — merge on this film project to create a beautiful, haunting portrait of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. And if the theatrical experience left you overwhelmed by the Hollywood-isms of the film's love story, between Kahlo and fellow artist Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), and you wanted more of Frida's art and politics, then drink deep of this comprehensive two-disc set. The film itself is so richly layered that it demands repeat viewings, and some research into Kahlo's art only enhances it. While Hayek, who shepherded this project for years, honours Kahlo's life, Taymor honours her art by creating three-dimensional paintings from which Kahlo literally emerges on screen. Nearly every aspect of this film is so spectacular — elements of period Mexico, stunning art direction, a beautiful score and Hayek's heartbreaking, subdued performance supported by Molina's equally powerful one — that it sadly highlights the weaknesses of turns like Geoffrey Rush's Leon Trotsky, which features a wildly wavering "Russian" accent. At its core, however, is Frida and her art. Extensive interviews, particularly with Taymor (an acclaimed theatre director who brought Shakespeare's Titus to the screen in 1999), flesh out her vision of the piece and her understanding of both Mexican culture and Kahlo's artistic inclinations. Extras: interviews with Hayek, Taymor and singer Chavela Vargas; full-length commentary by Taymor; select commentary by composer Elliot Goldenthal; features on vision, design and music, locations, and two visual effects pieces; portrait of and facts about Frida Kahlo and more. (Alliance Atlantis)