Synopsis: A tribute to choreographer Pina Bausch.
Stars: Pina Bausch, a plethora of Bausch dancers.
Director: Wim Wenders
Running Length: 103 minutes
Random Crew Highlight: Worldwide Sales – Fabien Westerhoff
TMMM Score: (6.5/10)
Review: Knowing nothing about choreographer Pina Bausch before seeing this, I was quite moved by the imagery and synergy she created with her pieces. Wenders doesn’t so much direct this documentary of her work as much as he just observes the art form. He does what any good documentarian does…he documents. I’m such a fan of documentaries that at first I struggled with wanting to know more about Bausch the woman. I felt like I had to understand her to understand the work – and that’s just not so and not what the movie was made for. I think a documentary of Bausch’s life is for another time…this film exists to exhaustively but brilliantly recreate her work and stretch the boundaries of performance.
The utilization of 3D has gotten a bit out of control in mainstream film but documentarians have started to use it as well. Here it is employed to great effect by giving depth to the dances without the audience feeling like things are flying at their face.
The film is at its best when it ventures out of the confines of the theater. I was in awe of the work that was captured in the ‘real’ world and found myself sitting up and taking notice when these pieces were presented. Some were just seconds long while others were full on performances. No matter the length there was something so visceral and immediate about these moments that they really made the piece for me.
Wenders takes an interesting method of gathering information from Pina’s dancers…he recorded their thoughts and then played them back and captures the interviewee hearing their voices and reacting to them. It’s an effective technique that ends up producing a lot of shots of the dancers staring right through the camera. While each person pretty much said the exact same thing, they were interesting subjects to watch.
I can see how this was nominated for Best Documentary and I can also see why it lost. As much as the film captures the beauty of the body and the body in motion, it did feel a bit cold and inaccessible at times…much like Pina herself, from what I gather.