AFI Movie Club: FRIDA – American Film Institute
Frida Film Still - Salma Hayek


AFI Movie Club: FRIDA

FRIDA was honored with an AFI AWARD in 2002 – recognizing it as one of the 10 outstanding films deemed culturally and artistically representative of the year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image. The film was directed by Julie Taymor, produced by Salma Hayek and co-written by AFI Conservatory Screenwriting Discipline Head Anna Thomas.

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FRIDA – Reelgood

Movie Trivia about TODAY’S FILM

DID YOU KNOW? FRIDA tells the story of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, known for her many iconic self-portraits. Focusing on Kahlo’s complicated love affair with husband and fellow artist Diego Rivera, the film also addresses her politics and bisexuality – as well as her health ailments, personal demons and untimely death.

DID YOU KNOW? FRIDA was a passion project for star Salma Hayek, who was inspired by the icon’s art and life. Hayek has said, “There was something about the woman and the times in which she lived that I just found fascinating. She took all the tragedies or difficulties in her life and made the best out of them, and not only made the best out of them, but did it in an interesting way. From pain, she did art and poetry; from the infidelities of her husband, she found freedom.”

DID YOU KNOW? Actress Salma Hayek threw herself into the role of Frida Kahlo – including shaving her own upper lip in an attempt to cultivate the faint hair that was part of Kahlo’s distinct aesthetic. Hayek also wore one shoe that was a centimeter taller than the other in order to simulate Kahlo’s limp.

DID YOU KNOW? To secure the participation of co-star Alfred Molina – who plays Frida Kahlo’s husband Diego Rivera in the film – Salma Hayek waited for Molina backstage at a Broadway play in which he was starring at the time to convince him to come on board the project.

DID YOU KNOW? It was actress and producer Salma Hayek who managed to secure the rights to use Frida Kahlo’s paintings in the film.

DID YOU KNOW? One of the writers of FRIDA is none other than AFI Conservatory’s Screenwriting Discipline Head Anna Thomas.

DID YOU KNOW? FRIDA was nominated for six Academy Awards®, including Best Actress for Salma Hayek, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Original Song. The film took home Oscars® for Best Makeup and Best Original Score.

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.


The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

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-How much were you aware of Frida Kahlo’s art before seeing the film? How much were you aware of the details of her life?

-How did Frida present herself and conduct herself that diverged from many women at the time? How did she establish herself as a trailblazing individual both personally and professionally?

-How did the tragedies and hardships in her life and relationships inform her art? How did they inform her politics?

-Were the hardships she faced due to the times in which she lived? Have times changed?

-How would you characterize her relationship with Diego Rivera? How did their tumultuous dynamic influence her as an artist?

-Frida Kahlo has been described as “surrealist” or a “magical realist.” What does that mean to you, and how does her art reflect those categorizations?

-How does the film refuse to erase Frida Kahlo’s bisexual identity? How does it depict her identity in a nuanced way and strive to avoid stereotypes? How is her sexuality reflected in her artwork?

-Very few films feature disabled characters. How did Salma Hayek and the filmmakers portray Frida’s disability in a respectful way that represented her experience authentically? How did Frida Kahlo’s pain influence her surrealist paintings?

-It is National Hispanic Heritage month from September 15-October 15. How does Frida’s legacy as a Mexican feminist icon and artist live on to this day?

-How would you rate FRIDA?

In this exclusive AFI Archive video, FRIDA director Julie Taymor discusses the importance of cultural collaboration in filmmaking:

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