• Inspirations

Tina Modotti

An extraordinary documentary about Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti

"Frida Kahlo & Tina Modotti" by Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen (1982) is a wonderful documentary about the lives and work of Frida Kahlo and photographer Tina Modotti.

"Both Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti were artists working in Mexico in the aftermath of the Revolution, during a period of general cultural awakening and social change. Frida was married to Diego Rivera and was born, worked and died in the same 'blue house' in Coyoacan, while Tina Modotti emigrated to California with her family from Udine, Italy, and travelled to Mexico with Edward Weston, where she then stayed to become a photographer in her own right.

The broad similarities between their lives bind the film as a whole, reflecting on the representation of women, women's art and feminist aesthetics; while the differences between them make up the content. " (taken from Luxonline web site).

The film not only explores the two women's artworks, but also includes rare footage of Modotti in the 1920 Hollywood film The Tiger's Coatand  and a few home movie shots of Frida and Diego at theBlue House.

The film was co-directed by film theorists and avant garde filmmakers Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen to coincide with the landmark exhibition they curated at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1982, also titled Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti.

See on the right Diego Rivera' s painting "The Arsenal": Frida is at the center of the painting and the woman on the right side is Tina Modotti, the Italian photographer and revolutionary political activist, who is holding ammunition for Julio Antonio Mella, a founder of the internationalized Cuban communist party.

Click the link below to visit the MoMA website section dedicated to Tina Modotti and to see an online collection of 33 works.

I suggest also to read "Tina Modotti: Photographer and Revolutionary" by Margaret Hook:
“In her relationships, her sexuality and her career, she made difficult choices — sexual independence instead of marriage, political commitment instead of personal security, revolution instead of art.”