ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Frida (2002)

Updated on April 17, 2012
time travel by armchair south of the border
time travel by armchair south of the border | Source

Lest it be forgot: Mexico matters

There are few countries today as important to America as Mexico. This is not because of what Mexico can do for America; rather, it is because of what America can do for Mexico. Clearly, Mexico needs help. Certainly, America can offer assistance. If the sum total of America's relationship to her southern neighbor amounts to beefing up the border patrol and building a thicker and taller wall, then facts speak for themselves. Isolationism and mercenarism, in retrospect, will have been her calling. So be it. But it does not have to be that way. NAFTA is as fine a first step in the right direction as any. Alone, however, it has solved only a fraction of the problems that have beset this great if impoverished country. It is practically self-explanatory that a safer and more affluent Mexico is in America's best interests. And it can be accomplished.

That said, Frida is a movie and not by any means a plea, though aid in terms of economics and medicine and education and, in general, infrastructure, should be automatically forthcoming. The dividends that a healthier Mexico could pay are incalculable. It is in reality a rich country. It only suffers from shortcomings in leadership, corruption, and mismanagement -- largely the same as here. Also, there is no telling whether or not Mexico would welcome American intervention even if it were totally above board. The idea seems sound and the movie goes a long ways toward explaining what is so good about Mexico apart from material assets. It is evident in the very heart and soul that Salma Hayek expresses in hundreds of elegantly nuanced ways in her performance as the artist, Frida Kahlo. Together, Ms. Hayek, and her co-star, Alfred Molina, as the artist Diego Rivera, are at their finest. They make it virtually impossible to think of the radicals they play without simultaneously envisioning these two actors.

If things really do come in threes, then the third aspect that serves to define this film and all that it calls to mind is Leon Trotsky (Geoffrey Rush). Trotsky's reputation rests primarily on having been Minister of War under Vladimir Lenin. But there were other sides to the man. He wrote a compelling work of literary criticism, too -- Literature and Revolution (1923). Chased from Russia by Stalin, with whom he might otherwise have competed for control of the communist state, Trotsky eventually went to Mexico. Not only did he obtain refuge from President Cardenas, but it was Rivera and Kahlo who actually provided him with a home and friends. Ultimately, an assassin caught him. Politics should not be so ugly, and these adversaries were actually on the same side. Nevertheless, Trotsky's differences with Stalin actually informed for a while the world of artistic production that once was heavily into the Comintern, then not. Most American Lefties resigned, for lack of a better term, years before the Red Scare gave way to blacklists, witch hunts, and mock trials. However, it has to be said, that without party membership and the impossible ideals it proclaimed, the best that Clifford Odets, Dashiell Hammett, and Aaron Copland had to offer simply dissipated.

The final word on either Stalin or Trotsky has not yet been written. But the blueprint for art called socialist realism that Stalin forced artists to adhere to had, at best, mixed results. Among the casualties were Eisenstein, master of montage, and Russian Formalism, insofar as the mostly literary movement influenced the plastic arts. Engineers of the human soul was how Stalin reputedly re-defined the role of the artist in what was supposed to have become a utopia. Should a workers paradise actually have come about everything would have been different. But as it is, the movie companies of the USSR, buttressed by state sponsorship and support, could not produce anything that would compete with a blockbuster along the lines of a Star Wars (1977). Like it or not, the mid-to-late1970s film was incredibly successful and captured, for a time, the world-wide screen. Not just Lenin and Stalin but all leaders have always coveted this kind of reach. And as much as old guard communists might have condemned the sci-fi extravaganza as excessive and unrealistic, they could not show by way of example a comparably riveting work of socialist realism. Surely Russian artists were capable of masterpieces, but government guidelines were too rigid to act as midwife. Reforms eventually came that would have encouraged capitalist-like incentives, but by then it was too late.

Art and politics is definitely a major theme throughout Frida. Socialism versus capitalism lock horns in a memorable scene during which Rivera refuses to compromise with his patron, Nelson Rockefeller. Feminism is also a topic as the relationship between Diego and Frida shifts from one form to another. And then, there are those haunting compositions by Frida that are so intriguingly shown so that they are anything but austere and lifeless museum pieces. One might assert that much of her work was a reflection of her having been so self-absorbed. She suffered an undue share of sickness and misfortune and no doubt at times felt sorry for herself. But this by itself cannot account for why her paintings command so much attention.

Lila Downs, singer and spokesperson for Mexicans without a voice, can be seen and heard in a sultry tango sequence. Excerpts from her work on the film and elsewhere are readily available on You-Tube. A recent article about her immediate plans can be found in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Facebook has all the goods on Salma Hayak. There is, of course, a lighter to side to the entertainment industry. The more crucial point is that Mexico will not be kept down. Even if only in movies, paintings, and song.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)