Re-making Frida Kahlo through song in Frida
in Screening songs in Hispanic and Lusophone cinema
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Frida Kahlo is probably the best known Latin American artist and a great deal has been written about her cult status, which began to emerge in the United States in the 1980s and has continued to the present day. There have also been a number of studies of the film Frida, directed by Julie Taymor and starring Salma Hayek. This chapter aims to demonstrate that the film attempts to refashion both an 'authentic' and an accessible Frida Kahlo for international consumption. It analyses the role of original compositions and pre-existing songs in this endeavour. The chapter considers the way that forms of representation in Frida have important implications for the ongoing reconfiguration of US identity, with a particular focus on the sizeable Latino population of the United States. It explores the film's use of well-known 'Mexican' singers Chavela Vargas and Lila Downs, and analyses their specific function within the narrative.

Editors: Lisa Shaw and Rob Stone

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