In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.
The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
Helena Bonham Carter,
Murderesses Velma Kelly (a chanteuse and tease who killed her husband and sister after finding them in bed together) and Roxie Hart (who killed her boyfriend when she discovered he wasn't going to make her a star) find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago.
Famous film director Guido Contini struggles to find harmony in his professional and personal lives, as he engages in dramatic relationships with his wife, his mistress, his muse, his agent, and his mother.
In modern dance since the 1970s, few choreographers have had more influence in the medium than the late Pina Bausch. This film explores the life and work of this artist of movement while we see her company perform her most notable creations where basic things like water, dirt and even gravity take on otherworldly qualities in their dancing. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Pina is being classed as a musical, but it's more of a documentary. More than this, it's a cinematic eulogy to Pina Bausch, one of the world's most influential dancers.
The filmic concept is simple. Footage consisting mainly of contemporary performances of Pina's ballets performed by her dancers is interposed with archive footage of the legendary figure herself. Each dancer, at their turn, looks squarely at the camera and offers their own recollection of how Pina inspired them. This is followed by a demonstration of their learning.
It seems that filming dance is making a comeback in cinema. But after seeing 'Black Swan' and now this, I wonder if dance loses something on the big screen? Maybe the realism or the urgency. Definitely something. It's the same with music concerts. You have to be there.
I'm of the opinion that you have to be an artist to understand other artists. They're a different breed. Where else, for instance, would the remark 'you just have to get crazier' be appropriate if not in dance? Some scenes are bizarre. No they're not. They're mad. Mad like Pina told her students to be. There are some arresting images, which to tease us, Wenders doesn't linger on.
The predictable comment being made of Wenders' film is that it is surreal. I don't believe it is truly surreal. Yes, some of the visuals are unusual like the Australian dancer who dances with abandon on a street corner with cars driving past and a train travelling upside down. Or the act involving two men spitting water at each other. Or better still the act with a man pulling his trousers up and down. But I swear the effects seem remarkably natural.
I was agape throughout the scene where one dancer in a serene industrial site shows a couple of cuts of meat to us and shouts 'veal!' before dancing on her tiptoes for what seemed like forever. Where was the beauty? I wondered after. I can't explain it. It is just there.
There's nothing snobbish about this film. There's not much that is esoteric either. The music is eclectic and the nationalities of the dancers are diverse. Pina united people. This film isn't exclusively for dance lovers; it's for admirers of culture.
Although I would find a second viewing of Pina to be quite taxing, I have no trouble in recommending it to anyone. It's unlike anything I've seen. It expresses beauty in a way I did not think plausible.
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