Pina (Ger-Fr-UK, 2011)

Depth perception

I’ve been pretty much unconvinced by the current fad for 3D but Wim Wenders’ documentary on choreographer Pina Bausch suggests there is a reason to wear two pairs of spectacles in the cinema. I was entirely unfamiliar with Bausch, however I’m now craving for more having found the excerpts offered in the documentary frustrating in their brevity. This isn’t a criticism as it’s not primarily a filmed performance of her work and, in fact, the extracts are extended; I just wanted the whole lot. Her distinctive, twitchy, ballet seems to offer a brilliant rendition of alienation.

The film’s mostly dance with interpolated talking heads of her company predictably offering a hagiography; however, by the end I believed what they said about Bausch.

I didn’t find the 3D perspective convincing, however as ballet is inherently stylised the distorted space presented to us probably intensified the action. What it did add was a sense of the physicality of the dance as the movement was more obvious in three dimensions. It no doubt helped that Wenders is an experienced director who’s spent 20 years pondering how to render Bausch’s work.

The cinema I saw it in – the National Media Museum’s little Cubby – was packed so hopefully it will come back again.


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