Pina/2011/Neue Road Movies, et al/106 min.
Having long admired Wim Wenders as a neo-noir director (“The American Friend,” “Hammett,” “The End of Violence,”) and documentarian (“Lightning Over Water,” Buena Vista Social Club,” “The Soul of a Man”), I always look forward to seeing his work. His latest film, “Pina” is a documentary about Pina Bausch, a German dancer, choreographer and teacher, who died in 2009 at the age of 68. It is the German entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.
Shot in 3-D and visually stunning, the film fully immerses you in Bausch’s singular aesthetic, vision and teaching style. From the first frame, you sense her intensity. And if you like German expressionistic dance, you might find the film illuminating, even moving. There are moments of humor as well.
If, like me, that style of dance is not your cup of tea, but you’re curious as to who this woman was, how she got started, how she made her mark and what critics thought, you’d best Google Pina Bausch beforehand. It’s definitely not in the film.
Oh all right, I’ll admit it, I’m a lazy American who doesn’t follow trends in Tanztheater, but I was hoping for maybe half a chapter of Bausch’s backstory and at least a glimpse of what made this woman tick. Interviews with people other than Bausch’s former students, perhaps?
Once you’ve done your Googling, be sure to follow critic Debra Levine’s brilliant suggestion for preparing to see this film and watch Mike Myers in “Sprockets.”
“Pina” opens today in LA and New York.