Thursday, April 28, 2011


Julie Taymor is an acclaimed director, known for her endeavors in film, theater, and opera. In recent months, she has made headlines as the original (and now former) director of the accident-prone Broadway musical Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. She won two Tony awards for her direction of Broadway’s The Lion King. Taymor also won an Emmy for her production of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex in Japan. Her works in film are well-known also; she directed the movies Across the Universe, Titus, The Tempest, and Frida. Frida, a biographical film depicting the life of the Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo, was nominated for six Academy Awards, of which it won two.

The film Frida received a wide amount of praise when it was released in 2002, mainly because of the way it was able to stand out from the typical film biographies in existence. Although the lives of certain individuals may be, or may have been, incredibly interesting and dramatic, it is often difficult to capture this on screen. As critic A.O. Scott from the New York Times stated in his review of Frida, “Instead, we are usually treated to the superficial pageantry of the artist's career -- sex and politics, drinking and fighting, celebrity and ruin.” Frida touched on the raw emotions of the artist, oftentimes depicted through her work. In the film, each scene springs forward from a piece of Kahlo’s artwork; the paintings move into real time.

As Bell Hooks says in her article “Introduction: Making Movie Magic”, “In this age of mixing and hybridity, popular culture, particularly in the world of movies, constitutes a new frontier providing a sense of movement, of pulling away from the familiar and journeying into and beyond the world of the other.” Taymor is able to create this feeling of journeying into another world with Frida. As explained in Maggie Humm’s article “"Author/Autor: Feminist Literary Theory and Feminist Film"”, gynocriticism is a way of assessing works of art specifically in relation to the interests and desires of women…it involves a separate female way of thinking, and a recognition that women’s experience has been effectively silenced by a masculine culture.” Julie Taymor utilized this separate female way of thinking in the making of Frida. Taymor herself has said "there is incredible power in the arts to inspire and influence" and she has done just that with this film.

Works Cited

Hooks, Bell. Introduction: Making Movie Magic.”

Humm, Maggie. "Author/Autor: Feminist Literary Theory and Feminist Film

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