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Frida in Helsinki

Frida in Helsinki

As part of the Official Selection of the New Cinema International Festival, New Talents, held in Helsinki, Finland, Dos Fridas was presented, a film by the Costa Rican Ishtar Yasin that recreates part of the life of the important Mexican creator Frida Kahlo (1907–1954).

“In Dos Fridas I explored, especially at an aesthetic level, the possibilities that cinema gave me. Being a painter like Frida Kahlo, that also led me to look for painting as a source of inspiration and look inside Frida's beautiful work: she has at some point a staging, a construction of a character where, even, there are theater curtains around her paintings. I have always been interested in exploring the world of the unconscious and in Dos Fridas I did have more possibilities to look in the world of dreams, of the invisible, what we do not see, what is not apparent to the eyes, which is hidden. That led me to another exploration within the cinema,” says Ishtar in conversation with Arte por Excelencias.

The screening, held at the Caisa Helsinki Cultural Center, was accompanied by a conversation with curator and researcher Katarina Lopatkina, responsible for the first large-scale exhibition of paintings by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Moscow, Russia. Katarina, who lives and works in Helsinki since 2017, has curated more than 20 exhibitions, including four by the Mexican artist. She has been deputy director of the Department of Contemporary Art and Chief Curator of the permanent collection of contemporary art of the famous Hermitage Museum, in St. Petersburg, Russia, and visiting professor in the Department of Art History, Historical Faculty, State University from Petersburg.

After seeing a painting by Frida Kahlo at the age of fifteen for the first time, La venadita herida, Ishtar says that she first identified with her: “I was shocked, fascinated, there are few women who have been considered, in proportion, let's say, in art history. For me she reflects a very feminine search, also human, closer to nature, to the mythological, to the cyclical, to an intimate search, of dreams, of that invisible world”.

Then she discovered Judith Ferreto, the Costa Rican nurse who took care of Frida, played in the film by the Portuguese Maria de Medeiros, considered in her country as the best actress of her generation, after having worked with renowned directors such as Philip Kaufman, Tarantino, István Szabó, Manoel de Oliveira, Bigas Luna, Isabel Coixet… “Judith took care of her in the last years of life, when Frida painted and wrote her intimate diary, which is a wonderful book and a reference for me. I discover Judith and a niece of her tells me that when she took care of her, she dressed like Frida, painted her eyebrows like Frida. A biographer from Frida tells me that she interviewed her in a hospital in Mexico when she had an accident that caused fractures similar to those of Frida. I was interested in what motivated this incorporation of the character of Frida in Judith, something that I also lived myself and that many women and people live throughout the world,” adds Ishtar, who gives life to Frida in the film.

Dos Fridas have been presented at film festivals in Shanghai, St. Petersburg, Lebanon, Egypt, Chicago ... In the recent edition of the Gibara International Film Festival in Holguin, it won the Lucia Award for Best Direction and Best Photography, made by Mauro Herce

Photos: frames of the film Dos Fridas