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Ishtar Yasin Gutierrez, Costa Rican director of the film "Dos Fridas", presented in official competition at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) 2018. Kèoprasith Souvannavong / RFI

The only film made by a woman among the 19 in official competition at the 22nd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF), in Estonia, Dos Fridas traces the special links between Frida Kahlo and her Costa Rican nurse, Judith Ferreto, who had taken care of the Mexican artist during the last years of his life. The feature film is based on a true story and is a kind of hymn to Love. " Love stronger than death, " says her Costa Rican director Ishtar Yasin Gutierrez. Interview.

RFI: Dos Fridas , premiered here at the Tallinn Black Nights Festival, is not yet another biopic about Frida Kahlo. Why did you choose this iconic figure of feminism and nonconformism as the guiding thread of your second feature film?

Ishtar Yasin Gutierrez: At the age of 15, I saw El venado herido ("The Wounded Deer"), a painting by Frida Kahlo painted in 1946. It is a self-portrait of the artist, represented in the form of a deer. The animal, which has the face of the painter, is pierced by arrows. Frida Kahlo was in poor health, she had 35 operations. For me, this painting really reflects the pain of the woman. Because until then, the pain was often represented by a man, Saint Sebastian, attached to a tree or a column, the body pierced by arrows. The sublimation of pain, through art, in Frida Kahlo - a pain generating beauty - inspired me a lot.

Like a mirror, this painting allowed me to build my own feminine identity. I started a research on Frida Kahlo. This quest then led me to investigate for twenty years on his nurse from Costa Rica. Judith Ferreto arrived in Mexico in 1948 to take care of Frida Kahlo until the end of her life in 1954.

In this research, I also discovered that Judith herself had an accident with injuries and fractures similar to those that Frida had when, on returning from school by bus, the latter struck a tramway in 1925 And my film begins with Judith's accident.

Sometimes you get the impression that the two characters are merging into your movie. One incarnates in the other and vice versa. Is this the meaning of the title of your fiction, Dos Fridas ?

Absolutely. But it's more the nurse who wants to become Frida Kahlo.

At the same time, there is both a kind of duality and union between the two women. Personally, I am very marked by the cosmovision that I discovered among the indigenous peoples in Mexico and in ancient cultures like in India. For example, Shiva, the goddess of creation and destruction, or Ishtar, the goddess of love and war. Duality is for me a fundamental principle, there is no life without death, light without darkness. It is unity in contradiction, as in Frida and Judith.

But I do not prefer to say more about the title of my film because it would lose all its mystery. I like that the viewer finds his own answers, because I believe in the imagination. The act of imagining is revolutionary, without limit. In the film industry, there are unfortunately films that leave no room for imagination.

Your movie is a message of universal love ...

Yes. Love stronger than death! This special relationship and friendship between Frida Kahlo and Judith Ferreto remain, even after their disappearance. You have to love yourself and not think only about yourself. Remember the Japanese movie Living , by Akira Kurosawa. Or, on the same theme, The Wild Strawberries of Swedish Ingmar Bergman in which a man will die and realizes that no one will remember him, for all his life he has been an egotist.

Life goes on independently of us. Today, I take up the torch by reliving the story of Frida Kahlo and Judith Ferreto. One day, other people will perpetuate it through other works. This is also cinema: an art and an act of love. One communicates, one gives one's heart to the world, one broadens the consciousness of the spectator.

I also believe that artistic creation is above all an unconscious act. When one is right in this act, one can not explain it rationally. The Chilean director Raul Ruiz even spoke of a " shamanic cinema ". There is a magic force that is created when you shoot a movie. This is also what I wanted to understand in Dos Fridas .

Trailer of the film "Dos Fridas" by Costa Rican director Ishtar Yasin Gutierrez

▶ To learn more about the 22nd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival: PÖFF 2018

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