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Tuesday
Jul312012

Pina 3D

Not since something like "Kurosawa's Dreams" have I had such an exhilarating sensation at a film of experiencing a waking dream.  I guess "Pina 3D" is a documentary but it's really more of a poem by Wim Wenders. You're watching performances of pieces by the late choreographer Pina Bausch, staged in all kinds of striking indoor and outdoor settings.  Not being a student of dance I didn't know what to expect, but this was visceral, primal, funny.  The 3D gives you such a tactile feeling of being near these bodies, and an almost out-of-body feeling of moving through these spaces. Bausch died recently; from the interior monologues of the dancers you get an idea of what a transformative figure she was in their lives.
 
There's vaudeville in her work, and Brecht and Beckett.  Several times we revisit the progress of a procession planting deliberate, cadenced steps, their arm movements precise, emphatic, their faces expressing the joy of being alive and moving.  When in the end we see them from a distance and in profile, dressed in primary colors and moving along the edge of a ridge,  it reminded me of the end of "8½" and the great pageant of life.
  
In one piece we watch generations trade off, children, adults, seniors, each taking their turn on the floor.
  
Bausch's dance is dirty, literally: in the opening number dancers charge across a dirt-strewn stage, their ropy, sinewy bodies and flimsy garments becoming streaked with dirt.  Raw  meat, raw women's eyes, imploring, telegraphing fear and need as urgent as a junkie's for a fix.  When the men and the women finally come together there is a sexual frisson.
  
The stakes are as high as possible in Bausch's work: this is life and death.  Dance is the life force.  "Dance, dance or we are lost," said Pina. 
  

Rating: ****

--February 17, 2012

Key to ratings:

***** (essential viewing)
**** (excellent)
*** (worth a look)
** (forgettable)
* (rubbish!!)

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Reader Comments (1)

You captured the sensory experience of this movie perfectly. What a beautiful tribute to Pina Bausch.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Pfeiffer

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