categories: Cocktail Hour / Movies
I’ve just come from the beautiful new Film Society theater at Lincoln Center, where I saw Pina: A Film for Pina Bausch, made by Wim Wenders, a genius on the subject of a genius with a cast of geniuses, and I’m not kidding. The movie is in 3D and it’s the best use of the recently revolutionized medium I’ve seen yet, stage spaces taking on form and outdoor spaces vastness incomparable. The film as conceived wasn’t meant to be one but became a memorial to the great German dancer and choreographer (also actress, in at least on Fellini movie), who died five days after diagnosis with an unannounced cancer (the film never mentions it at all), two days before filming was slated to begin. This mortal coil. The cast is entirely dancers. The action is entirely dance. The sense of humor is sublime. The sense of depth and poignant homage is more so. The freedom of these dancers is dazzling. The invention is in large part Pina’s and made possible by Pina.
“Keep Searching,” is the only advice she gave one of the dancers. “Get crazier,” another. “Dance for love,” a third. Wenders has interviewed the company, but their words, off the cuff and eloquent, aren’t offered in the usual interview format. Instead, the international cast (it’s a large one) sit for the camera in gorgeous closeups while apparently listening to their own words, reacting naturally as they hear what they had to say, often with smiles. It’s very effective, dancers using their bodies to express deep feelings. Someone should have thought of that before.
And the dancing is wonderful, very much the heart of things, often in water, often outdoors, sometimes in dirt, on grass, under a monorail, then inside it, and onstage in front of an audience shot so that we feel part of it, gorgeous sets. I laughed a lot. I watched very closely. I considered the human form. It’s a fine movie, big time.
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