Following up after Pina
April 15, 2012 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Wim Wenders at the Film Society Lincoln Center introducing Pina, and post-film talk and Q&A session [50m] during which he describes much about the groundwork for the film, how it was made, and the challenges of filming a 3D dance documentary.

Dancers "responses" and other short clips from the film Pina:

Love [36s], Trust [1m], Joy [1m12s], Reconciliation [2m20s], Leãozinho Caetano [1m10s], Strong Woman [1m], Intersection Duet [1m25s]

Two segments from Wuppertal Tanztheater's The Rite Of Spring [not the segments from Pina]: One (Opening) [9m], Two (Sacrificial Dance) [7m30s] (Two = NSFW - exposed breasts)

Das Tanztheater der Pina Bausch [43m], a documentary auf Deutsch from German television in 1998, featuring segments of other works.

Pina Bausch and Wuppertal Tanztheater pieces in their entirety:

Cafe Müller [50m] (the piece with all the chairs)
Die Klage der Kaiserin (The Complaint Of The Empress) [1h13m] (not featured in Pina)

Bonus: New York Film Festival and HBO Films bring Wim Wenders to the stage to discuss his entire career. [1h17m]
posted by hippybear (20 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Favorited hard.
posted by Trurl at 9:31 AM on April 15, 2012

I missed Pina when it hit the theaters so thank you for this!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:51 AM on April 15, 2012

Dance has been the hardest art for me to appreciate. (Partially because it's the only major art form I've never dabbled in.) The emotional content of Pina Bausch's work, though, as beautifully captured by Wim Wenders made it much easier to appreciate the art of dance. I don't know if I'll ever truly "get" the beauty of more abstract modern dance, but this marriage of film and dance was a wonder!
posted by kozad at 9:53 AM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pina was an astonishing film - I saw it twice in as many days (and discovered that there are noticeable quality differences between 3D projection set-ups at different movie theaters).
posted by twsf at 10:07 AM on April 15, 2012

saw Pina and Wenders talking about it at the Seattle Cinerama. Truly astonishing film. Wenders was Wenderish. It was delightful. He was paired with a local professor of dance (from Cornish, I think) in the Q&A.

Hearing Wenders discuss the context of his interest in making a film with Bausch and the development process was very helpful, as I had never heard of Bausch and had little to no idea what the film was going to be. A friend asked if I wanted to see a Wim Wnders film, shot in 3d, something something dance mumble mumble Cinerama, with Wenders appearing. I shouted HELL YES into the phone.
posted by mwhybark at 10:22 AM on April 15, 2012

saw Pina and Wenders talking about it at the Seattle Cinerama.

Yeah, I came this close to making the trek over the mountains to be there for exactly that night. Then I came to my senses and decided that driving 8 hours to see a movie was kind of a silly thing to do.

Happily, it is currently playing in 3D at the SIFF Uptown theater, which was directly behind my hotel when I was in town for a couple of concerts last week. I'd been wanting to see the film for over a year, since I first heard about it. I knew it was showing here in Spokane, although in 2D. Getting to see it in the way it was intended at a quality theater was a real treat, and I'm really glad I made room in the schedule to go.
posted by hippybear at 10:29 AM on April 15, 2012

First, I have to admit that I utterly don't get dance. Lord knows I've tried. But dance is simply incomprehensible to me.

That said...

I saw a preview for Pina awhile back and it completely clicked for me. I was transfixed and involved. I would really love to see this film, though the 3D aspect of it is a major turn-off for me. But, hopefully, it can make a graceful transition to boring old DVD for my home viewing pleasure, 'cause I really want to see the whole thing.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:35 AM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would really love to see this film, though the 3D aspect of it is a major turn-off for me.

This is 3D done right -- long fixed camera shots with deep focal depth so your eye can wander around the shot. None of that MTV quick-cut nonsense. It's edited in such long segments, I've rarely seen a movie which holds a single shot as long as this one. The impression of watching live people move about on a stage is uncanny at times.

That said, the DVD has been released in Europe already, sadly not compatible with US DVD players (it's PAL)... So I'd expect it gets a Region 1 NTSC DVD release eventually. I'll be buying a copy.
posted by hippybear at 11:51 AM on April 15, 2012

Yeah, I came this close to making the trek over the mountains

If I'd known about it I'd've been tempted to to trek/fly from the other coast (with family stuff as an excuse). The Cinerama would be a great theater to see this.

The 3D worked extremely well, it gave a sense of being at the dance theater. 3D has a lot of very justified criticism, it worked here as the dance stage does not call for long pans or jump cuts. (as hippybear elucidates so well as I slowly type)

As for 'getting' dance, I've seen a lot, been in some, I still don't 'get' some, but if it's not boring, and the dancers are good, just the joy of the movement is worth going to a show.
posted by sammyo at 11:57 AM on April 15, 2012

Can be counted in as one of those who is completely outside the world of dance, but this film totally blew me away. Everyone who has a body should see it.
posted by troubles at 12:28 PM on April 15, 2012

I love this film. That is all.
posted by omnikron at 1:39 PM on April 15, 2012

As a former dancer, I can tell you that the experience of watching this film in 3D was visceral. I stopped dancing over a decade ago because of injury and because I was competent but not gifted. I have never regretted having stopped as bitterly as I did in the theater as I watched Pina. The joy of making shapes in space, the abandon and constriction, oh goodness, the sheer now-ness of dancing... Pina gets pretty damn close to it.
posted by minervous at 2:52 PM on April 15, 2012

Then I came to my senses and decided that driving 8 hours to see a movie was kind of a silly thing to do.

We went to see Wings of Desire in Edmonton many years ago, and the people behind us had driven four hours to see it because, the lady said, "it's the best movie there is". I thought that was cool.
posted by sneebler at 3:05 PM on April 15, 2012

Pina was astonishing. I left the film feeling exuberant, and in love with humanity. It is truly a work of art, about art. Thank you for this great post!
posted by thinkpiece at 4:02 PM on April 15, 2012

Wenders expressed similar concerns about and personal reluctance to use 3D, relating to the production process for the film. Not reluctance to use it in the context of the film, but reluctance toward adopting the latest gimcrack, more or less, I believe grounded in his preference for non-digital shooting. IIRC the film's 3D was shot digitally. He emphasized his desire to use 3D in a manner that was concordant with his sense of aesthetics, and that it solved a problem he perceived with the limitations of presenting dance in a two dimensional medium.

A large part of the film is headshots of Bausch's company, which were shot without dialog and then presented with voiceover. Wenders was particularly excited about using 3D to present the facial conveyance of emotion, which he pointed to as one of the specific intimacies which film has made available for transformation into performance (my words, not his). He seemed to imply that he was looking at a 3D project oriented toward more of this; long, intimate takes of an actor or subject's face.

Finally, it is pretty clear that the 3D aspect of it was viewed by Wenders as integral. Even if you hate 3D if you like Wenders' stuff you might want to accept his invitation to consider the medium.
posted by mwhybark at 4:12 PM on April 15, 2012

A couple weeks before seeing Pina, I'd seen Fright Night in 3D, and was struck by how many of the traditional vampire-movie gags really don't work in that format. The technology sort of exaggerates the separation of planes (causing the shoebox diorama effect), so when the hero stepped out of the foreground and the vampire is revealed in the background, it isn't really scary---they seem impossibly far apart.

But in Pina, the exaggeration of the planes provided a kind of choreographer's-eye-view, emphasizing stage space and especially negative space between bodies, things that really stand out for choreographers but are harder for us civilians to notice. Documentaries of live performance always lose a lot when depth is taken out, so for once, the bullshitty aspects of 3D (modern art has been about acknowledging the 2D aspects of the picture plane, so 3D's simulation of depth always has this backwards-looking trompe l'oeil bullshit feeling for me) felt perfectly justified.

It made me wonder why no one has started broadcasting football or basketball games in 3D. Considering how important depth and distance are to the experience of those sports, I'd think it would be a similarly revelatory viewing experience. Does anyone know if that's technically prohibitive (maybe because of the speed the bodies are moving at), or is it just a business/licensing/vision issue?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:53 PM on April 15, 2012

It made me wonder why no one has started broadcasting football or basketball games in 3D.

Perhaps you're unaware of the 3D sports broadcasting already taking place. ESPN 3D has a 24/7 schedule, and Monday Night Football has plans to go with full 3D broadcasting in the next year or two.

Right now the trick is finding carriers who offer 3D programming. The will is in place, but the ways remain elusive.

(Personally, I think that baseball would be best served by outfitting stadiums with a cadre of cameras and an army of computers which could render Matrix-style bullet-time effects in real time. Imagine how awesome it would be to see the pitch thrown, the batter swing, and then have the point of view follow the ball around the stadium to BEHIND the outfielder who catches the ball! That wouldn't even have to be in 3D, but it could be awesome in that format, too.)
posted by hippybear at 8:48 PM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was first turned on to the magic of 3D dance movies with Step Up 3D. Kid you not: it was awesome. As people have said: visceral. Bodies in space! The magic of live dance plus the intimacy of film.

Pina was incredible. The 3D was amazing. I want to live in some of those shots.
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:56 PM on April 15, 2012

Yow, thanks hippybear---I was *totally* unaware of that. Geez, I don't follow football at all, and I'd be interested in seeing that.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:25 AM on April 16, 2012

at the Seattle Cinerama

Sorry for the thread de-rail, but I saw a film there over the holidays, while visiting the Emerald City, and am totally jealous towards those who can go there with regularity. What a fantastic theater!
posted by billcicletta at 6:42 AM on April 16, 2012

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