From November 2 – 10, “DOC NYC,” a documentary film festival, returns to Greenwich Village for its second year. Judging from the festival’s films, that I have been able to preview so far, this is an event not to be missed.
In my experience, when attending a film festival, the best bet is to stick with the documentaries. While the narrative films can be uneven, the documentaries are almost always exceptional. Therefore, an opportunity to attend a film festival made up entirely of documentaries…need I say more, especially when it is in our own backyard? Read the rest of this entry
I am not going to claim to have been able to understand and appreciate everything that was going on in German director Wim Wendors’ new 3-D documentary “Pina,” which will be shown at the New York Film Festival on Saturday, October 15. Perhaps being concerned with “understanding” is not the point of this colorful, vibrant, thrilling and wonderfully confusing film about the late German choreographer, dancer, teacher and director, Pina Bausch.
Yes, I know many readers may groan when I mention “3-D,” a term which has, by now, become a cliché as well as a negative, pop-cultural punch line. In its defense I must point out that “Pina” uses 3-D in a manner that is intelligent, justified and brilliantly artistic. In fact the only other recent 3-D film to which “Pina” can be compared, for its innovative use of the format, is Werner Herzog’s documentary “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” Granted the two films, in terms of their respective subject matters and techniques, are wildly different.
As I know next to nothing about dance, or choreographers, the best I could do was watch the highly original dance pieces as presented by the dancers who worked with Pina. Her work, to me, seemed to be a cross between ballet and modern dance with interesting innovations thrown in. For example, in “Café Muller” the dancers interact with chairs and tables. In “Rite of Spring” the stage floor is covered completely in earth. The dance pieces have been beautifully staged for this film. Many of them take place outdoors, in parks and, in one case, even on a moving tram. They have been gorgeously shot, employing deep focus cinematography, which compliments the 3-D technology. Read the rest of this entry