The life of Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) was one of passion, political commitment, and controversy, perilous adventure, and prolific artistic achievement. With Diego Rivera and Jose Orozco, Siqueiros was a leader of the Mexican mural movement. While each of these artists was concerned with producing popular, public, and political art for a revolutionary society, Siqueiros was the most politically active of them all. A stormy, iconoclastic personality, he was one of the great desperadoes of modern art. Siqueiros regarded his life and his painting as a battle with himself and against social injustice. A revolutionary and innovative creator, he lived, fought, and painted with extreme passion. This program captures the fire, turmoil, and talent that is Siqueiros.
Latino artist David Alfaro Siqueiros was a leading painter of murals, a medium for which Mexico became known in the 20th century. In 1921 Siqueiros wrote about the importance of mural painting; he devoted his artistic life to discovering new techniques and paints in order to create largely inflammatory murals with direct political messages. This beautifully filmed documentary makes it clear that painting murals was the ideal means to convey his political views, which influenced not only his artwork, but his life. As a soldier and officer, he fought in numerous battles in Mexico and in Spain, and was put in jail repeatedly for his publicly stated views in which he espoused Communism, although he was also directly involved in an attempt on Trotsky's life. He repudiated easel painting as aristocratic, yet he made paintings that won international acclaim at the Venice Biennale in 1950. Narrated by Ricardo Montalban, this hour-long program carefully documents the didactic nature of Siqueiros's work as well as his dexterity in composition, particularly in difficult architectural spaces such as corners and staircases, and in his use of multiangular perspective. --Anne Barclay Morgan