Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Visit Leon Trotsky in Mexico, 1938

Here is some very rare footage of the great Mexican painters Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo paying a visit to exiled Soviet revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his wife, Natalia Sedova, in Coyocoán, Mexico, in 1938.

The Trotskys had arrived the year before, after Rivera petitioned the government of President Lázaro Cárdenas to grant the controversial Marxist leader and theorist sanctuary in Mexico. When the Trotskys arrived on a Norwegian oil tanker at the port city of Tampico in January of 1937, Rivera was not well, but Kahlo boarded the ship to welcome the Trotskys and accompanied them on an armored train to Mexico City. She invited the Trotskys to stay at her family home, La Casa Azul (the Blue House) in Coyocoán, now a section of Mexico City. By the time this footage was taken by a visiting American named Ivan Heisler, Trotsky and Kahlo had either had, or were about to have, a brief affair, and the friendship between the two couples would soon fall apart. In early 1939 Trotsky moved to another house in the same neighborhood, where he was assassinated in August of 1940.

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  • Maria Trepp says:

    On my (Dutch) blog I have some paintings/murals by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera with Trotzky figuring

  • I’ve been fascinated by Frida Khalo since I started going to Mexico 29 years ago and have followed her life extensively.

    Amazing footage!

  • Karen Heisler says:

    Hi. I’m curious from whom/where you got this footage that was shot by my dad.

  • Mike Springer says:

    Hi Karen,
    I’m sorry I didn’t see your comment before now. I found the video on YouTube. There are references online to the film being in the collection of the Hoover Institution. If you should happen to check back here, it would be interesting if you could share a little information about how your father came to take this historic footage. There must be an interesting story there.

  • Joyce Singular says:

    anyone know the name of the music in this video?

  • sylvia castaneda says:

    The name of the song is Sandunga.

  • Mercedes Narez says:

    I used the App “Shazam” to identify the song and it attributes the song “La Zandunga” to Antonio Bribiesca. You can find it and many different versions by different artists on iTunes. The vocal version by Chavela Vargas is very soulful.

  • audrey dodson says:

    I became interested in pursuing more information about Trotsky after reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book, The Lacuna. From reading the book I became enthralled and have come to love the man and his passion. It’s interesting, sometimes tragic, how ‘life’ has its way with us sometimes.

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