Sun 25 Nov 2012
Reading some the interviews that Wim Wenders gave about Pina I learned that this film ended to be something quite different from what the director originally intended. While fascinated a long time by Pina Bausch’s creation and especially Cafe Muller, Wenders could not find for a long time the appropriate means of expression to make a film about it. And then something happened – technology developed and 3D came back with a revenge. The revelation was that 3D and filmed dancing are a perfect fit. The result is a film which is unique in its way, hard to enter in any category, a good example actually of how relative and futile categories are.
What we get on screen is a portrait and a homage to Pina Bausch. While Wim Wenders authored many documentaries about music or history of cinema, this film is not the usual documentary, neither is it a biography (no chronology, no theoretical analysis of her work), but a portrait of an artist who was among the few who revolutionized her discipline, a portrait assembled from testimonies from the dancers who worked with her (although some say no words) and most of all by her art as it was filmed and brought to screen. Maybe the best description I found is the one in the German sub-title of the movie – a Tanzfilm, a Dance Movie.
There are indeed a great deal of beautifully filmed ballet scenes, in different environments, and here we see the hand of a master director, as almost all required innovation in building the sets and making them look like belonging to a cinema event, not to a filmed performance. As I am a fervent spectator of filmed performances of contemporary dance on Mezzo TV especially, I am pretty familiar with the genre. Wenders succeeds here to work the synthesis, and Pina is both a ballet performance of first class and a cinema event combining the best of the two arts and amplifying it by the power of 3D. The usage of the technology results not only in viewers seeing better and more clearly the performance and the sets (these too), but also making them part of the creative process. In several scenes in the film we see Pina Bausch during repetitions mixing with the dancers, watching and talking with them, working together as a team. With the 3D effect the spectators become part of the work process, part of the show, part of the homage Wenders brings to the great choreographer.