Pina [in 3-D]. 2011. Germany. Directed by Wim Wenders. In many languages, including German, Russian, French, Portuguese, Korean, Slovene; English subtitles. 103 min.
With Pina Bausch, Malou Airaudo, Regina Advento, Ruth Amarante, Pablo Aran Gimeno. A German choreographer who revolutionized tanztheater (“dance theater”) with her brash, raw, and often absurdist stagings of human emotion and gesture, Pina Bausch died in 2009 shortly before she and Wenders were to collaborate on a film. All but ready to give up on the project, Wenders was instead persuaded by members of her Wuppertal Dance Theater to refashion the film into a tribute of dazzling variety and valence, interweaving archival footage of Bausch with live performances of some of her most legendary and intimate dance pieces that he shot in 3-D. Frustrated by traditional cinema’s failure to capture the kinetic intricacy of dance—”I felt cameras were at a loss in front of a dance stage,” he observed, rendering the volumetric language of the body too “graphic,” too “abstract,” and not “corporeal” enough—Wenders used 3-D to astonishing effect, capturing the full range of Bausch’s elaborate somatic vocabulary while also venturing beyond the proscenium arch to film members of Bausch’s ensemble dancing on the banks of a river, in a factory, and with transit commuters in the company’s home town of Wuppertal.