103 minutes

It's fair to say most people will approach Wim Wenders' latest foray into documentary filmmaking with some trepidation, seeing as his recent fiction has been mostly below par. However, such trepidation is unnecessary, since Pina, the German director's homage to the late choreographer Pina Bausch, is not only a welcome return to form; it's also one of his most vital and heartfelt films, and certainly his most heartfelt in a long time.
Key to this particular triumph is not only the much-ballyhooed 3D effect, but above all mr. Wenders' long-term friendship with ms. Bausch. Both had been discussing a film collaboration for the best part of twenty years and only when 3D became sufficiently developed did mr. Wenders feel the moment had come to shoot. Tragically, ms. Bausch died as filming was about to begin, and the director considered cancelling the project altogether until her company insisted he move forward. The result is a vivid collage: excerpts of four of her best-loved pieces, shot as stage performances, are interspersed with the company's memories of working with ms. Bausch, solos from the dancers filmed in actual Wuppertal and Essen locations, and archival footage.
Mr. Wenders uses the 3D technology, in accordance with ms. Bausch's wishes, not as a circus sideshow gimmick but as an actual dimensionalisation of the pieces: the relief is merely an expansion of the screen landscape that allows the dancing to recapture its spatial dimension, perspective, movement and depth of field intertwining. The camera is just another dancer, attentive to each step and breath of its companions, perfectly realising one of the dancers' statements that "Pina was a painter that used the dancers' bodies as words". And the director takes a step back to merely record the choreographer's concept of "dance theatre", with the film becoming, more than just a documentary, truly a window into her creative world, all egos (even mr. Wenders') disappearing and blending into one moving, heartfelt love letter to ms. Bausch's work.
Pina is likely to be, after James Cameron's Avatar, the next truly extraordinary step in the evolution of 3D as a serious filmmaking tool rather than just a gee-whiz technology.
© 2011 Jorge Mourinha

Directed and written by Wim Wenders; choreography by Pina Bausch; produced by mr. Wenders, Gian-Piero Rangel; original music by Thom Hanreich; directors of photography (Cinepostproduction Geyer, 3D), Hélène Louvart and Jörg Widmer; art director, Peter Pabst; costume designers, Marion Cito, Rolf Borzik; film editor, Toni Froschhammer. 
A NFP Marketing & Distribution presentation of a Neue Road Movies production, in co-production with Eurowide Film Production, ZDF and ZDFtheaterkanal; in association with ARTE; in association with Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Pina Bausch Stiftung, L'Arche Éditeur and Pictorion das Werk; with the support of Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Filmförderungsanstalt, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, BKM, Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image Animée. (German distributor, Warner Bros. Pictures. World sales, Hanway Films.)
Screened: Berlin Film Festival 2011, official selection (out of competition) advance press screening, Berlinale Palast (Berlin), February 13th 2011. 

PINA - Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost - International Trailer from neueroadmovies on Vimeo.


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