Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pina 3D

Last night I saw Pina 3D, a documentary directed by Wim Wenders.

Years ago, while on vacation in Venice, Wim Wenders girlfriend dragged him kicking and screaming to a dance performance. Instead of falling asleep, or being bored to tears, Wenders claimed he "cried his eyes out," because the dancers presentation was so beautiful. Of course, he was watching a creation by Pina Bausch.

Soon he became friends with Bausch, a celebrated German choreographer known for her avant garde theatrics and absolute joy for dance. Then, a few decades later, he convinced her to let him tell her story on film.

Sadly, in the early stages of production, Pina suddenly died (presumably of cancer) at the age of 68. Devastated, her dancers and Wenders proceeded with caution (after contemplating abandonment of the project altogether).

What resulted is a beautiful tribute to an amazing woman who had the passion and talent to get to the core of emotion in each of her dancers.

We see how she encouraged the artists to move following their spirit rather than sticking to stringent technique (though their technique is consistently jaw-dropping). We witness how much their beloved choreographer meant to them in a series of interviews paced between explorations of their performances.

About five minutes into the film, we also forget that we're watching 3D and feel as if we're in front of the actual stage where the dancers are performing. It's such an innovative use of the technology, one can't help but wonder why more documentarians aren't employing the same methods (Wenders said in a recent Q&A that he feels "documentary is the future of 3D").

The dance sequences may be too "out there" for those not fond of dance to begin with, but the respect and love demonstrated by all of the dancers is far too endearing not to at least appreciate.

This film is definitely worthy of its Oscar nomination.


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