Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Pina 3D

I've never seen a performance by the controversial Tanztheater Wuppertal, so I was curious to see Pina, the 3D movie tribute to choreographer Pina Bausch by Wim Wenders. Wenders filmed excerpts of her dances on stages & in diverse outdoor locations. Pina Bausch passed away unexpectedly just before production began, so the film also features remembrances from her multicultural company. I was stunned by the opening of The Rite of Spring, which is brutish & frightening & fits the music perfectly. I want to see this live. The movie also made me want to see the whole of Cafe Müller, with its characters stumbling spasmodically around a room full of chairs. It looks nerve-wracking & painfully sad. Pina seems to require a great deal of vulnerability from her dancers. I was made very uncomfortable by another piece in which a lifeless woman is poked & prodded by a mob of men in suits. Pina is also very funny, though it was hard to know what to make of the woman in love with a hippo or the ballerina stuffing her toe shoes with veal. In a joyful procession that bookends the film & seems to be a salute to Pina, the company marches single file while making gestures representing the four seasons.

Wenders makes good use of 3D. When a shot shows the whole stage, the dancers look like figures in a doll house. Other times we're right up next to them. A piece in which the dancers cavort on a flooded stage is made even more exuberant by the 3D splashes. Scenes filmed on Wuppertal's amazing suspended railway make us feel like we're flying. It's got to be worth a trip to Wuppertal just to ride it.

§ Pina 3D (2011)
Director: Wim Wenders
103 min, Germany

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