Saturday, November 28, 2015

For a dance icon, a truly moving eulogy

About the movie
Pina 3D
Documentary; Musical
MPAA rating:
for some sensuality/partial nudity and smoking
Running time:
Release date:
Rainer Behr; Malou Airaudo; Damiano Ottavio Bigi; Ruth Amarante; Regina Advento; Ales Cucek; Jorge Puerta; Andrey Berezin; Pina Bausch; Bénédicte Billet
Directed by:
Wim Wenders
On the web:
Pina 3D Official Site

Never mind Wrath of the Titans, Titanic 3-D, and George Lucas' souped-up, stereoscopic repurposing of Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace.

The real 3-D experience of the season is Pina, Wim Wenders' shockingly beautiful and moving tribute to the late German choreographer Pina Bausch. A dance movie that brings the audience to the performance in a way a traditional documentary could never do - and in ways that even being in a theater, watching live, won't accomplish - this meditation on movement and space, transportation and transcendence is not to be missed.

There is much humor to be found in Pina, and also much reverence: Bausch, who had been talking to Wenders for years about a film collaboration, died in mid-2009, at age 68, just five days after being diagnosed with cancer. Her troupe decided to carry on, and so this documentary is a loving (and playful) eulogy, a celebration of a creative force.

If the best dance performances mirror life, then Pina - nominated for a documentary Academy Award on Tuesday - takes the mirror image and magnifies it, vitalizes it.

Wenders, armed with his 3-D camera, shoots the members of Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal ensemble in the cars of a gliding monorail, on busy street corners, on the barren ridge of an industrial wasteland, in sleek modernist buildings and elegant gardens. Many of the dancers - an ethnically and chronologically diverse crew of agile physical artists - get face time, reflecting on their relationship with Bausch, on how she impelled and inspired. (These "talking head" sequences, too, are gorgeous: close-ups of the individual dancers, with their monologues delivered in voice-over, as if we're listening in on their thoughts.)

In a 2008 speech for his friend Bausch when she was being honored by the City of Frankfurt, Wenders said "until now, movement as such has never touched me." He went on to explain how he had learned to value what body language, what human motion and force and grace, can do.

With Pina, his revelation becomes ours.

Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at


Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter