January 21st, 2014

Home movie

This speaks for itself, I think. Just a bunch of Marxists in Mexico:

Have you ever noticed how people in old home movies never know quite what to do with themselves?

[NOTE: I said it spoke for itself, but in case you don't know the background, take a look.]

16 Responses to “Home movie”

  1. artfldgr Says:

    she made unibrow trendy…

    and his work? well, you DID do a thing on rockerfeller center… did you not? (how about a few other places?)

  2. Fausta Says:

    Living the good life: A
    t a big house in the countryside owned by the guy bankrolled in 1934 by Rockefeller.
    Well dressed, well fed.
    Rich enough to own a film camera during the Great Depression.

    All good communists are rich.

  3. MissJean Says:

    Rivera’s favourite work was the fresco he did for the Detroit Institute of Art, commissioned by Edsel Ford. (It’s one of my favourites, too.)

    Kahlo hated their time there, but he was fascinated by the machinery and the people. The mural went through a period where it was considered controversial, then passé, and now it’s popular again. It’s a time capsule – full of pop culture nods like the Lindburgh baby & Dick Tracy – but also interesting in what it says about ingenuity and hard work.

    I’m glad that with all the plans to sell off the DIA’s artwork, no one can touch it.

  4. armchair pessimist Says:

    I’ve aways had a small soft spot for Stalin on account of all the Commies he killed. And I think using an ice axe was quite witty of him.

  5. MissJean Says:

    Also, I always found it telling that Kahlo attended fancy parties and lived very well in Detroit (with the exception of her miscarriage – but even then, she was taken to a good hospital). At the same time, the Capuchin monastery on Mt. Elliot St. fed hundreds of people a day who were suffering in the Great Depression. Rivera seemed more aware of it than she did, though she was supposedly committed to communism.

    Every Socialist (with a capital S) I’ve ever met has had a silverspoon childhood and no job except instigator (sometimes even paid!) I remember in particular a Venezuelano college student who was very frustrated because no one would go to his organization’s lectures. Several people explained that these meetings were all at 2 or 3 in the afternoon during weekdays, when we were working at that time. He called us “tools of capitalism.” I later learned that his father had written a check for $15K at the beginning of the year – not for tuition or books, but for his living expenses.

  6. neo-neocon Says:


    Well, most of the Communists and/or socialists I know (or knew; many of them were of an older generation and are now deceased) were definitely not born with a silver spoon in their mouths.

    It may be that we are contrasting two different generations. The people I knew were for the most part born about 100-90 years ago. Their early years were not privileged at all. A couple of them became wealthy later on in mid-adulthood, but most of them never did.

  7. George Says:

    Frida’s bigote is not very prominent on film. Did she shave it for Leon or the camera?

  8. Don Carlos Says:

    Kahlo the unibrow (thanks, Art) was awash in self-pity, and Diego the wife-abuser gave her lots more reasons to feel sorry for herself. A marriage made in socialist heaven.
    As for his murals, I see the artists in their art, so I’m not a fan of Diego or Frida. Sorry, but that’s the way it is with me. The DIA will eventually be bulldozed, I guess, but the taxpayers will pay dearly to have Diego’s art ‘saved’.

  9. MissJean Says:

    Neo-neo, perhaps it is also because the Socialists I knew were South and Central Americans? They had the funds to come into the US and live very well in Ann Arbor and Washington D.C.

    I don’t know any homegrown Socialists. The one man I think of as “American” is close to 50 but he came to the US from Germany via Mexico in the ’80s. He got his US citizenship after the Berlin Wall was pulled down, and he talked about his youthful travels in China and the USSR. If pressed about how he managed, he would say he went with his father to visit “friends.” I never liked that he was critical of all things American and talked big about the needs of the working poor, but he pursued me in such a patronizing way that I really despised him. He finally seduced one of my friends, and it was clear to everyone that she was a trophy because of her background (lower class and with “exotic” Native American features).

    I admit I attended some private gatherings in college because there was free food and drink. But conservatives have better shindigs, I must say. :)

  10. Gringo Says:

    Regarding whether Commies were born with silver spoons or not, I will add anecdotes of the Latin American silver spoon variety.

    During the guerrilla wars in Guatemala, the army said that it could tell when it had come across the campsite of the guerrilla Rodrigo Asturias, who was the son of Miguel Ángel Asturias,the Nobel Prize winner in Literature. Discarded whiskey bottles indicated that Rodrigo Asturias had been there. It should be noted that most guerrilla campsites did not have whiskey bottles, however.

    Camilo Torres was a Colombian priest turned guerrilla fighter. Some family friends knew him from their time in Colombia. One story was that while he taught at the university during the week, he was observed during the weekend on horseback in the countryside, part of a guerrilla band. Such a double life couldn’t be maintained indefinitely; he was killed not long after.

    Camilo Torres spent the early part of his childhood in Europe,which for a Colombian of that era would indicate well-off parents. Camilo Torres had an MD father who had been Minister of Education. The maternal grandfather of Camilo Torres, Carlos Eugenio Restrepo, had been President of Colombia, so Camilo was definitely not of peasant stock.

    I had some experience with Communists in Latin America, enough to convince me that there were enough of them who would have willingly jumped into the Russkies’ lap, with minimal prompting. Such as the Commie in the Bogota coffee shop who informed me that the 1968 Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia was done “gently.”


  11. Parker Says:

    A hammer & a shovel. One to strike the blow & one to bury the meat that no one wants to eat. Strange days are coming.

  12. Tonawanda Says:

    Utterly amazing.

    Modern life could almost be judged on the percentage of people who could make sense, regardless of pov.

  13. NeoConScum Says:

    N-Neo… LOVED watching the ‘home’ movies you linked. When I was ‘yootful Lefty I loved Frida. Probably because of her non-communist quirks, eccentricities, individualism and sometimes grotesque paintings. Watching the films kinda brought an old times sentimental tear to my more & more elder eyes. Still got a soft spot for the girl, though Uncle Joe was sending millions to Magadan, Kolyma and Vorkuta at the time of the smiling commie faces on the old film. Ahhhhh… Nothing like the horrors of a full slave ship headed for the arctic circle to jolt me back to consciousness…!

  14. Paul in Boston Says:

    Isn’t it remarkable how kind and fatherly a mass murderer can look while spending time with friends? If you knew nothing about Trotsky would you ever guess from this?

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    Paul in Boston,

    That struck me too. So genial!!

  16. Bryan Says:

    This was probably shot at Frida Kahlo’s home in the Coyoacan suburb of Mexico City which is like a compound with a large central garden. It is now the Frida Kahlo museum. I visited it a couple of weeks ago for the first time. Rather creepy, as it feels more like a shrine than a museum. Kahlo’s bedroom is preserved and on the wall are photos clipped from newspapers of her heroes: Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Mao and one I wasn’t sure of, probably Engels. The greatest mass-murderers of the 20th century.

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