Re:View – ‘Pina’

The Arts

Director Wim Wenders realised that 3D could be used for an art film, specifically about the German choreographer Pina Bausch, that would be able to place viewers into performances of modern dance without making them suffer the histrionics of ‘Black Swan’.

His method is brilliantly simple. He takes the major pieces Nina created with her dance company and has them performed afresh, shooting some on the stage, opening out others into factories, woodlands and city streets. The effect is electrifying.

Between the dances, the principals are briefly interviewed about their relationship with Pina. The few shots of Bausch dancing are incorporated into a cinema sequence, a film within a film that separates it from the 3D footage. Without a biography, timeline or gushing commendations, the work is allowed to unfold at a natural rhythm and speak for itself.

And what work! Sequences range from sublime (Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring performed on an earth floor) to athletic (a couple climb through stacked chairs without touching the sides) to surreal (a monster and a rabbit on a monorail) to simply joyous (a kicking, splashing, leaping dance in the rain).

Often, the work shocks. A woman is examined by men in suits as if she was a horse for sale. A dancer performs blind, rushing across a chair-filled room with an abandon that requires her fellow dancer to remove all obstacles before she hits them. A woman repeatedly drops like a board, face down, toward a concrete floor and is save by her companion. The ideas are simple but breathtaking.

And how refreshing it is to finally see a 3D film that doesn’t involve talking monkeys or superheroes.

If there’s one fault, it’s that the film is longer than most dance programmes, and could do with cutting some solos by 20 minutes. Music is consistently surprising and the end credit track is wonderful. Anyone know what it is?

2 comments on “Re:View – ‘Pina’”

  1. Simon says:

    The soundtrack CD is on Amazon and has the 30s samples of each track.

  2. Rod says:

    I didn’t get to see the film in 3D but I loved it. You didn’t mention the huge feature of the elements and the dance about the seasons. I think it would make a good youtube spinoff to play the music and just have random people dancing.

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