Suddenly one painting by Frida Kahlo appears in my mind.
I remember back then, back home, long time ago ….
I parked my bicycle under a tin roof, waiting for the rain to stop. Unknowingly, my college friend was inside. He and his movie-freak friends (my hometown was a small place, you can meet your friends by coincidence in every corner). In front of a legendary die-at-young-age-lady-rocker poster, he invited everyone to join an event inside the room. Apparently the room was a base camp for an indie-movie movement. They screen movies, discuss, make e-mags, they’re a movie-lover group dedicated to provide alternative space to watch movie, and provide space (a.k.a. audience) for alternative movies as well.
Finally, we choose “Frida” movie. It’s a story about the life of a renowned female painter from Mexico, Frida Kahlo. It’s a Hollywood movie so it’s not that “alternative” anyway, but it was a new movie and had long duration, suitable for our long and rainy afternoon.
I think the movie was too long, but that’s not what we’re supposed to talk about during the discussion session. My friend asked everyone to share comments on what was the defining moment of the movie. His defining moment was when Frida cut her hair furiously. It’s a long scene indeed, and Frida’s long hair was cut short, boy-style, out of heartbreak. Maybe it was a defining moment for her statement of self-identity, but I see similar scenes a lot and I don’t think that was the defining moment of this movie.
For me, the defining moment was when she’s inside a bathtub, calm and silently looking to the city scene outside through a small window, and then looking at reflections of her toes on the water, and afterwards looking at her busy husband who came in hurry into the bathroom …. what a busy man he was, so busy and ambitious and full of himself like she never knew him at all. Well, maybe because he’s also a renowned painter pursuing his international career in that new city.
That scene is a single picturesque moment of her husband’s self-ambition in the sideline and the other face of ambition in the center: unexpected solitude. It’s not a sad moment even though Frida was keeping silent about her toe’s bleeding pain. In contrast, it was a powerful moment, because Frida, with her eyes full of long-lost-newly-found deal-with-it comprehension, was confronted with the bare truth. People with high ambitions appears to be tough but, inside, their self ambition makes them so vulnerable and sometimes not realizing the (might be) more important thing in their life: love and connectedness (which cannot be measurable in any ways).
In the end, (maybe like all of us will) Frida was settled in that moment of solitude, learning a thing or two about the peace of mind. The defining moment comes from her realizing that all the pretty image people are pursuing in their life (even competing) such as 1. loving and successful husband, 2. own house, 3. international ambiance neighborhood, 4. prospects of good career and income, was not an answer for the peace of mind. What human eventually have was their own self: the reflection of their toes (including their own pain) on water inside a private bathtub … and the city scene outside. They can blend, they can interact, but they cannot interfere each other.
This painting describes exactly how I feel right now, even more. Unfortunately I cannot find the image of that movie scene from google. Anyways, I present you the significant, memorable picture by Frida Kahlo, “What the Water Gave Me”:
picture source: http://www.artchive.com/artchive/K/kahlo/kahlo_water.jpg.html