Frida Kahlo’s art is taking on a new form, thanks to the documentary “Frida.” Editor Carla Gutiérrez (“RBG”) makes her feature directorial debut with documentary “Frida” about the life and legacy of acclaimed painter Kahlo.

Gutiérrez uses Kahlo’s own words, coupled with animated versions of her artwork, to bring Kahlo’s pieces to life onscreen. The film uses Kahlo’s illustrated diary, letters, essays, and print interviews to craft a new story around Kahlo’s personal life and love affairs across 40 years, including her famed marriage to husband and fellow artist Diego Rivera. The film debuted at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

Director Gutiérrez spent two years researching Kahlo before helming “Frida.” The filmmaker also employed a team of mostly female Latina artists to create the singular cinematic experience that transcends an art history lesson and becomes a living portrait of Kahlo’s life, with her artistic magical realism at the center.

Gutiérrez told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson that she knew “Frida” had an entirely “new approach that was a lot more intimate” than previous documentaries on the artist. “Cinema is a different artform,” Gutiérrez said. “When you have interaction with Frida’s art, a lot of times it’s either in a museum, if you’re seeing an actual painting, or through books, and you have an opportunity to live with the painting and live with the art, and observe it and have an interaction with it. I found that wasn’t possible through film. There was this distance that I felt. With the animation, I wanted the audience to key into specific details that highlighted the emotions that we were touching on in those specific segments. For me, going into the paintings this way was immersing myself in her mind.”

Gutiérrez continued, “We knew that Frida could give us the emotional content that we needed. What I’ve done is to try to build the world, and present it to the audience as if the protagonist was walking you through it. So you’re holding the hand of Frida Kahlo, as she’s walking through the world. Everything is dictated by her emotion or her presence there.”

“Frida” is executive produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Lynne Benioff, Alexa Conway, Meredith Kaulfers, Julie Cohen, and Betsy West. Katia Maguire, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Loren Hammonds, and Alexandra Johne serve as producers.

“Frida” is in select theaters today, and will start streaming on Thursday, March 14 on Prime Video. The film will open in theaters in Mexico starting on Thursday, May 9, courtesy of Cinépolis. Check out the trailer below.

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