A tribute to the late German choreographer Pina Bausch, as her dancers perform her most famous creations.A tribute to the late German choreographer Pina Bausch, as her dancers perform her most famous creations.A tribute to the late German choreographer Pina Bausch, as her dancers perform her most famous creations.
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.
- May 8, 2011