Blame it on Bono: Wenders has U2 to thank for Oscar-nominated 3-D dance doc

wim and pina
Wim Wenders gets all 3-D with Pina Bausch.

It was Wim Wenders’ eureka moment: sitting in a theater in 2007, he slipped on a pair of black plastic 3-D specs and settled back to watch his buddy Bono in the giant screen concert film, U2 3D. And suddenly, everything became clear – he knew how to make his long-discussed documentary about internationally renowned choreographer Pina Bausch.

 “I had been debating with Pina for 20 years about this film, and stalling for time, and hesitating,” explains Wenders . ”I just didn’t know how to do it. I had huge reservations about filming dance, not because of the beauty of dance -- but because I felt my craft was inadequate. The tools couldn’t really do justice to the life experience.... And so, for twenty years, Pina and I had this running gag going. Each time we’d meet she’d ask, `Well, do you know now?’

“`Give me more time, Pina, I still don’t know.’”

And then Wenders found his solution, “in an area where I had not looked before, and that was technology. It was at the very beginning of the digital 3-D wave…. I put on these glasses innocently and thought I was going to have fun, I love the music, and instead I sat there mesmerized and couldn’t wait for it to end, because from the first shot it was clear this was the answer to our question -- Pina and I. And I just wanted to call her. So while the credits were running I dashed out and gave her a call, and the only thing I had to say was, `I think I know now how to do it.’

 “It was so obvious: what we were missing was the very element of dance – space!”

Pina was nominated for a best documentary feature Academy Award this Tuesday. It’s playing now – in 3-D, of course – at United Artists RiverView, United Artists King of Prussia, AMC Neshaminy and Rave Motion Pictures at the Ritz Center/NJ.

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