#WHM: Tove, Frida & Alice

Women’s History Month is fast evaporating and there are several things I ought to get to but haven’t. Time being short and my memory even shorter, here are some films I didn’t immediately write up and can’t access again to double check impressions so I will be vague but enthusiastic.

TOVE (2020)

Director: Zaida Bergroth
Writer: Eeva Putro
Stars: Alma Pöysti, Krista Kosonen, Shanti Roney

This film is gorgeous. From the first scene of Pöysti dancing as Tove to the last documentary footage of the real Tove dancing with sheer pleasure on her little island it’s a beautiful tribute to a singular artist focused on the time in her life when all that seemed very far away. Struggling to find a way in the world, supported by her Moomin Mama and sneered at by her philandering, competently artistic father, Jansson is trying to make herself believe in her life and her loves and then she is completely bowled over when the magnetic Viveca Bander sweeps into her life and reveals a new world to her. Everything is turned upside down in an exciting way — but an exciting life isn’t always the best thing for an artist. For folks who know the life story of the artist, the place where the narrative stops may seem a bit odd, but it makes sense. After all, happiness doesn’t make for an exciting narrative.


Dir: Giovanni Troilo
Written by: Jacopo Magri & Marco Pisoni

The good things about this: interviews with people who knew Friday, views inside her houses, some good framing of her art and Mexico: the jacaranda trees were so gorgeous especially while it was still really cold here in New York. Asia Argento looking so much like her mother! But the framing of Kahlo’s life especially with Diego as the center of it is a bit odd. There’s an offhand mention of Trotsky. Even more odd that they end with the clip of her and Chavela Vargas — and just look at it and tell me you do not see two people totally infatuated with one another. But they don’t so much as mention Chavela. Curious, eh?


This documentary was mesmerising! You can watch the Q&A above that went with the screening. I hope that it will be made available. I think it is from the same French production company that put together the documentaries on Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo. Rahon is getting more attention lately because the Wendy Norris Gallery is now representing her works and they’re good at promotion. Her life is fascinating, as were most of the women in the loose circle around the surrealists. She traveled from India to Northwest Canada studying indigenous art though she began as a poet.

From Tere Arcq’s website:


First documentary on the surrealist artist Alice Rahon. Poet and painter, she was born in France and came to Mexico in 1939, where she created a fascinating oeuvre that has recently been rediscovered through the exhibition Alice Rahon: A Surrealist in Mexico that introduced her work and archive papers.

Directed by Dominique and Julien Ferrandou

Produced by Aubé Ellouët

Consulting  and interviews  Tere Arcq