The work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo confuses conventional notions that place the verbal and the visual in two independent categories. Such hybridity invites a reading of Kahlo’s life and work through different media, combining written text and image. In this article I examine two major interpretations of the artist’s life: Frida. A Biography of Frida Kahlo (1983) by art critic Hayden Herrera and Frida (2002), a film directed by Julie Taymor, based on Herrera’s canonical biography. Taking into account the specificities of each text and considering film adaptation as both a multilevel relationship and a dialogic process, I look at the ways in which these works elicit empathy in the reader/viewer. In particular, I dwell on the gaze articulated on the screen, as it triangulates with that of Kahlo’s biographer and with the artist’s own version(s) of herself. Diverging from the construction of Kahlo as the archetypal suffering woman artist, the film re-frames Herrera’s biography through a series of devices that disrupt the narrative discourse and foreground the subjectivity inherent in the biopic. Such interruptions, stressing the constructed nature of the film’s interpretation of Frida’s story, deconstruct the processes of history and biography, and foreground the film’s own narrative as an act of revision.

Vellucci, S. (2016). Narrative Empathy at the Interface of Auto/Biography and Film: Frida by Hayden Herrera (1983) and Julie Taymor (2002). CONCENTRIC. LITERARY AND CULTURAL STUDIES, 42(2), 105-123 [10.6240/concentric.lit.2016.42.2.07].

Narrative Empathy at the Interface of Auto/Biography and Film: Frida by Hayden Herrera (1983) and Julie Taymor (2002)

VELLUCCI, SABRINA
2016

Abstract

The work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo confuses conventional notions that place the verbal and the visual in two independent categories. Such hybridity invites a reading of Kahlo’s life and work through different media, combining written text and image. In this article I examine two major interpretations of the artist’s life: Frida. A Biography of Frida Kahlo (1983) by art critic Hayden Herrera and Frida (2002), a film directed by Julie Taymor, based on Herrera’s canonical biography. Taking into account the specificities of each text and considering film adaptation as both a multilevel relationship and a dialogic process, I look at the ways in which these works elicit empathy in the reader/viewer. In particular, I dwell on the gaze articulated on the screen, as it triangulates with that of Kahlo’s biographer and with the artist’s own version(s) of herself. Diverging from the construction of Kahlo as the archetypal suffering woman artist, the film re-frames Herrera’s biography through a series of devices that disrupt the narrative discourse and foreground the subjectivity inherent in the biopic. Such interruptions, stressing the constructed nature of the film’s interpretation of Frida’s story, deconstruct the processes of history and biography, and foreground the film’s own narrative as an act of revision.
Vellucci, S. (2016). Narrative Empathy at the Interface of Auto/Biography and Film: Frida by Hayden Herrera (1983) and Julie Taymor (2002). CONCENTRIC. LITERARY AND CULTURAL STUDIES, 42(2), 105-123 [10.6240/concentric.lit.2016.42.2.07].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11590/307242
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