A new movie Pina by Wim Wenders is scheduled to appear in Czech cinemas soon. We had the opportunity to see Europe's first 3D film on Wednesday, July 24th 2011 at the Atlas cinema and would like to share our experiences now.
The film gives a spectator an idea of the life of one of the most talented dancers in the second half of last century Pina Bausch, who died in June 2009.
The idea to make such a dance movie arose from a genuine and longstanding friendship between Pina Bausch and film director Wim Wenders. As Pina once claimed, with Wim they shared the same perception of art and creation in general, thus their eventual collaboration was only a question of time. However, due to her untimely death only few opening film sequences have been made with her. It was up to Wim to finish the entire movie in 3D resolution.
The film is edited from the world famous choreographies of Tanztheater Wuppertal, founded by Pina, who spent her entire life and career of a dancer and author there. A spectator thus gets to see a medley of her works Café Müller, The Rite of Spring, Vollmond and Kontakthof. Nevertheless, it is not a mere recording of those pieces, due to director’s inventive view the film turns out to be an exciting and fascinating story of a life philosophy of both Pina and her company.
However, it is the 3D technology that makes the movie unique among other dance films and it feels as if the spectator was sitting in the very first row in the theatre, sometimes even in the backstage or directly on the stage. It thus happens that one is sitting in silence and is directly confronted with an overwhelming expression of both terryfying and happy feelings. You stop breathing and all you feel is just a strong tingle down your spine and shivering around your stomach. Considering you are just watching a movie, the emotions are very strong. The same emotions that are prominent in the whole oeuvre of Tanztheater Wuppertal.
What is especially remarkable is how the individual pieces of choreography are sequenced in the film. They are neither arranged chronologically, nor presented in their entirety, the author works rather with the similarity of different images, associations and coincidences. In some cases a character is observed in various roles, sometimes shots are arranged thematically, sometimes intuition leads the chain of events. Moreover, the filmmakers did not shoot just in theatre, some sequences are very naturally and informally situated in the open space of the busy Wuppertal streets, parks, uncultivated countryside or industrial premises such as factories, stations, etc. Images of particular sites constantly mingle and overlap. Elements of nature are everywhere, whether raw or artificial. Pina had always worked with water, rock, stone, clay, sand, leaves… she felt an unearthly energy in them that somewhat increased the value of her choreographies. This creates a colourful collage of an absolute movement, tension, dynamics, expression and perfectly fitting music and visual aspect, interwoven with entries by individual members of the ensemble, who recall their years with Pina. Some express their gratitude, some talk about her life philosophy, others about experiences they had shared with Pina. It is nothing of a moving, heartbreaking story, it is just a retrospective look at what it was like to live with Pina Bausch, what it was like to be a part of a company where creative output and dance towered above anything that modern time endorses. What was it like not to be praised, but rather encouraged, which actually was the greatest reward?
The film is about 110 minutes long, but it is captivating from the very start. It presents Pina as she really was. She had always been (and in our memories will always remain) a very sensitive person who could listen to her dancers and feel every single bit of their bodies. A woman who devoted her life to dance and her faith in dance, a dancer who rejected any compromises, a choreographer, who knew the reason of each move, the reason that she could explain and pass down to performers. Pina Bausch unofficially started a new philosophical trend with her fundamental thesis: Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost. It will guide the lives of her "family" – Tanztheater Wuppertal – until their death.
The movie Pina is a remarkable legacy of the unearthly being Pina Bausch had always been and always will be. Movies like this really deserve a thumb up. Wim Wenders managed to enshrine in this film the unique movement quality and spirit Tanztheatr Wuppertal has been known for since its inception.
The film will be oficially launched at the Festival of Dance Films that takes place from September 8th to September 11th, 2011 at Světozor and Atlas cinemas.
Written from a screening for journalists, August 24, 2011 at Atlas cinema.
Translation: Tomáš Valníček