February 11, 2012

Pina: A film for Pina Bausch by Wim Wenders in glorious 3D

Prior to this film, I had seen Pina Bausch's dance group perform once. I left feeling somewhat disatisfied, but after seeing this film, I wish I had gone back to see more of Pina's work while she was still alive.

Wim Wenders has created a remarkable document of Pina's art and a beauiful portrait of her dancers. What's equally astounding is that he's made the best 3D movie I have ever seen. In the much touted Avatar, I was disappointed to find that Cameron adhered to traditional camera techniques to focus the audience's attention on the actors. Unfortunately, I often found the foreground action dull and longed to look at the background details; something I couldn't do due to the film's narrow depth of field casting the background into a blur.

Pina is unafraid of letting the viewer shift their gaze. Using deep focus in many of the sequences, Wenders allows each plane to be clear and distinct. If you're curious about the dancers in the background you can watch them as easily as those in the foreground. I've never seen a 3D film that felt so real.

Amazingly, the 3D is merely the icing on the cake. The selection of dances is wide-ranging, exploring both the depth of the choreography and the skill of the dancers. Being able to see their expressions adds dimension to the work, drawing the audience further into the choreography.

The film begins with a work that cycles through the four seasons as the company parades by. Wenders uses it as a motif that runs through the film, and at the end it calls to mind The Seventh Seal, a fitting tribute to the woman who brought such artistry into the world.

Learn more about the film on its official site.

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