Pina: Wim Wender's 3D spectacle of purity and passion

3. 7. 2011 / Ema Čulík

Wim Wenders is no stranger to documentaries about artists. In 1995 he brought out of obscurity the Cuban musical ensemble Buena Vista Social Club to record an album in the United States and become popular all over the world. Now, in his new documentary he has brought back to life the choreographer Pina Bausch, who died in 2009.

Apparently they had planned to make a film together but Pina passed on before they managed to start work properly. So the resulting film is something of a memento mori, or a glass case capturing the spirit of a beloved artist and teacher.

Pina Bausch's work was already well known to many thanks to Almodovar's featuring it in his 2002 film Talk to Her And Pina, too, has drawn a lot of attention because of the fact that it was shot in the uber-trendy digital 3D format. So far we have mostly seen this used on the blockbuster screen in films like Alice in Wonderland, Avatar, and other fully animated films such as Toy Story and Kung Fu Panda. It was a novelty to be putting on 3D glasses in a film theatre in Karlovy Vary... And so this flashy new technology that heretofore has been reserved for the sensation of spectacle is now moving over to the realm of the arthouse.

Wim Wenders has used the 3D technology to make a film of gorgeous simplicity. The depth and detail of the image allowed him to concentrate singly on the people, their passion and the movement. The film is made up of sections of dance combined with interviews with the members of Pina's dance company. We begin inside their own theatre in Wuppertal and then the dancers move out into the city, performing their pieces in beautiful and unassuming settings such as gardens, inside trams, under bridges, in glass rooms. These settings show the powerful humanity of the dance and its authenticity and strength. They can be seen anywhere, beyond the limits of the conventional space of the stage, and still be convincing and moving.

There are group pieces and then numbers where individual dancers are featured. Wim Wenders makes a very detailed portrait of the late Pina through her dancers, in whom she continues to live and work and inspire. In each number the dancer expresses one particular aspect of the process of dancing, working, living together with Pina and the company. We meet the various dancers face to face in the "interviews": not usual talking heads but in fact silent heads. The dancers sat silently in front of the camera, their facial expressions doing all the talking, with their own voices in the background giving their account in words. This is a beautifully simple technique that shows how they are capable of saying much more with their bodies and faces, with their souls.

It becomes clear very quickly that film is more than just a peep through the curtain into the world of dance. A dance movie in 3D could so easily attract people through the gimmick alone. But this film, with its simple eye that allows us to absorb the texture and colour of the dancers and lets them speak through their own sincerity. It is a film about love and creation and expression and fear and the power of a great teacher. It celebrates, just as Pina's choreography did, the human spirit and its capability for beauty and amazing achievements, if we are just strong enough to open ourselves. "Your frailty makes you strong!" said Pina to her dancers. And the viscerality and physicality of the image permitted by the flashy technology allowed us to feel its great strength and to release the spirit of a great artist out into the world.


Obsah vydání | Sobota 10.12. 2016