“Pina” at New York Film Festival
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.
In addition to performing Pina’s choreography, her dancers are interviewed in a way that is very unique. We never see the interviewees speak. We see them, sitting silently, perhaps waiting for Wenders to ask them questions. We hear their comments, recollections and appreciations over shots of them sitting there, silently, lips not moving. It is very effective and contributes to the film’s ethereal quality. Their remembrances of Pina are enhanced by the dances themselves: “Meeting Pina gave me a vocabulary,” “Life without Pina. I don’t know what it is.” Pina is quoted as having advised, “You just have to get crazier.”
The experience of seeing “Pina” is tantamount to being lost in a dream. As for writing anything more penetrating or critical about dance I am afraid I am at a loss. In my defense though I will simply quote Pina herself: “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.”
Posted on October 10, 2011, in New, New York Film Festival 2011 and tagged 3-D, Cafe Muller, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, choreograher, Pina, Pina Bausch, Rite of Spring, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.