Pina Bausch Documentary Tribute

“Pina” is a documentary tribute to German choreographer Pina Bausch and directed by German film maker Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club). Bausch and Wenders had intended to create a 3D film about Bausch’s career when she suddenly died in 2009. Wenders and Bausch’s own company of dancers created, instead, a beautiful retrospective of Bausch’s choreography, a love letter, and a visual testament to her genius.

Her dancers are indefatigable: they throwing themselves forcefully into the movements, fearlessly slamming into the ground. Or, they lean calmly into gravity knowing they will be protected by another dancer. Or, they travel, eyes closed, through a room filled with wooden chairs without hesitation because other dancers are sweeping the chairs aside as they approach. And finally, they dance under and with water falling from a huge onstage rock. Bausch created landscapes and textual contexts for her dancers. She filled the stage with dirt and had her dancer luxuriate in it. In one of her most famous pieces, she filled the stage with flowers. Damn, we’re going to miss her. This film will go a long way towards keeping her spirit alive.

By the by: Dance and 3D film are an exciting match. Much of what is interesting in dance involves the interrelationships of the dancers, their placement on stage, and the geometric patterns they make or travel through. Film flattens those parts of the choreography; 3D brings them back and brings the live performance experience to entirely new audiences.

P.S. Though nominated for an Academy Award for some documentary category or other, “Pina” did not win.

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One Response to Pina Bausch Documentary Tribute

  1. Katie Tetzlaff Larsen says:

    I LOVED the film. I agree that 3D has exciting and tangible possibilities for those of us interested in spreading dance. I think a lot of folks who have never considered the form of German expressionism in dance will now get to see, hear and almost feel it thanks to Wender’s and Bausch. Since seeing the film, I’ve had several visions of the movie return to me in striking forms during my everyday life as a classroom and dance teacher. She strikes so true, that Pina.

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