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Film Festival - Frida

Wednesday - April 25, 2007
MAC Playhouse - 3:30 pm - 6:15 pm


Hosted by: Dr. Robert Singer, Professor of English
College Now English Course Coordinator
Dr. Marcia Babbitt, College Now ESL Course Coordinator
Dr. Eleanor Cory, College Now HUM Course Coordinator

About the Movie: Frida
Director, Julie Taymor 2002 - Rating R

This biographical film is about the legendary Mexican/Jewish artist, Frida Kahlo. Frida demonstrates that creativity is not a matter of luck but rather, hard work. Although suffering from severe injuries in an accident, Frida Kahlo was able to create brilliant paintings and live a very full and colorful life, as she fulfilled her drive to define herself through art. Be prepared to be inspired.

About the Presenter: Dr. Marcia Babbitt
Dr. Marcia Babbitt is Co-Director of ESL at Kingsborough Community College and director of the Intensive ESL Program, a content-based interdisciplinary program designed to accelerate the progress of entering ESL students. Marcia holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the CUNY Graduate Center.

About the Presenter: Dr. Eleanor Cory
Dr. Eleanor Cory is a composer whose music is often inspired by art, literature, dance and film. A member of the Kingsborough Department of Communications and Performing Arts, she teaches traditional music theory and appreciation courses as well as a contemporary music/humanities course and interdisciplinary courses with the English Department. She sees film as a dramatic unfolding of events in time analogous to the interactions of instruments in musical compositions, shapes and colors in art, and words in books and poems.

ACT Style Prep

Extra Credit Assignments
In the film, Frida, the viewer saw a creative and productive artist suffering from the deleterious effects of a physical handicap and marital conflicts. Frida Kahlo was able to create works of art despite a stormy marriage, affairs, and a serious accident. Her status as a female artist of Mexican-German/Jewish ancestry, at a time when women were not actively encouraged to paint or lead a creative life was unrivaled for many years. Yet, as this film clearly demonstrates, her success was not without its price. One question that arises from a discussion of this film involves gender (identity/social issues involving male and female roles): would Frida, the artist, have so many complications in her life if she was not Frida, but, perhaps, Fred? Would her affairs, political views, even her creative work have been as controversial if she had been a man instead of a woman? Would there even have been a film, Fred, if this were the case? How much does gender affect the representation of the artist and her story in the film, Frida? Does the story of her life as an artist merit our time and attention? Does the film "get it right" and balance the issues fairly as it documents her life?

You have been asked to write a letter to the school newspaper in which you will express your view concerning the role of gender, focusing on the representation of the woman as artist, in the film Frida. Do you think it is appropriate to include all the highly personal aspects of her life as well as show the creative process in action, or does this matter at all? Do you think that a male artist would receive the same treatment? How does the character of this artist affect your judgment of her creations? In your letter, discuss your view of these questions about Frida's art and character, and especially focus on the importance of gender to the film as you develop a point of view. Freely quote from any source of information and from the film.

Mini-Research Project

(NOTE: This is NOT a research paper - it is a research-oriented experience in which students gather information. They can prepare outlines, note-cards, a bibliography, cite references, or practice any combination of these skills associated with preparing a research paper).

Utilizing the library and its resources, and/or material from the Internet, prepare an investigative project that focuses on any one of these topics associated with the film, Frida:

a) Diego Rivera
b) Leon Trotsky
c) twentieth century Mexican art
d) Julie Taymor (Director)

Standard College Essay

Many issues arise from the analysis and discussion of the film, Frida. Some of the more important issues involve representing the relationship between personal conflicts and creativity, the positive and negative effects of celebrity, how the social and political era in which one lives affects his/her work, and how people can successfully or unsuccessfully work together. There are other related personal and social issues arising from the analysis of this film, and these are only some suggested and significant themes to consider.

In a full-length essay (approximately 400-500 words), later to be revised for content and correctness, discuss any of the issues raised in the film Frida that you consider to be of special interest either for yourself or for society. Feel free to refer to the film or any source of information in your essay. Explain why and how these issues are significant not only in the film but also in relationship to your own life or the lives of other people.

Event Photos Frida - April 25, 2007



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