Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
My friend Michael Shields is a two-dimensional guy – he eschews 3-D films. He sees them as gimmicky. He finds the glasses distracting. While he enjoys cutting edge and esoteric films, he prefers to watch them the old fashioned way, just using his eyeballs.
Michael knows technology is a genie that can’t be stuffed back inside the urn, but that doesn’t mean he likes it. Sometimes I co-host the Film on Friday radio show with Michael, and following one discussion about an upcoming 3-D movie, he allowed that this medium might work for a dance film. After all, choreography is about spatial relationships.
Well, I’ve finally found a 3-D film I think he’ll like – “Pina,” currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.
First of all, it’s a dance film. Moreover, it’s a documentary by Wim Wenders about the choreography of the late Pina Bausch.
Yes, Michael likes documentaries. He admires the films of Germanic director Wim Wenders. He talked about “Black Swan” for weeks. And he even consulted with Joyce Stahl on her productions of “The Nutcracker,” adapted especially for Key West audiences.
As a film director, Ernst Wilhelm "Wim" Wenders has given us such minor masterpieces as “Buena Vista Social Club,” “An American Friend,” “Wings of Desire,” and “Paris, Texas.” He also produced music videos for such groups as U2 and Talking Heads.
Side note: When I published Family Computing for Scholastic, I used to have David Bryne of Talking Heads stop by the office and review music software for the magazine. And I particularly liked “Sax and Violins,” the Talking Heads song that appears on the soundtrack of Wim Wenders’s “Until the End of the World.”
In addition, Wenders has been a film critic, playwright, photographer, and member of the advisory board of the World Cinema Foundation (a project founded by Martin Scorsese). He’s also been president of the European Film Academy.
Wenders was close friends with Pina Bausch, and the two were collaborating on a dance film when Pina passed away. Wenders halted production, until the dancers of Tanztheater Wuppertal convinced him to finish the film as an honor to their dance mistress.
The documentary allows the troupe talk about Pina Bausch, but more importantly it lets them perform her contemporary dances – inside the Tanztheater Wuppertal and in scenic locations around the city of Wuppertal.
The extracts are from four well-known pieces: “Le Sacre du Printemps,” “Café Müller,” “Kontakthof,” and “Vollmond.”
The film was nominated as Best Documentary at the recent 84th Academy Awards, but lost out to “Undefeated.”
Wim Wenders is sold on 3-D. He says he’ll be working only in that format from now on. In fact, he has already started filming a new 3-D documentary about architecture.
Hmm, architecture is all about spatial relationships too. Bet Michael Shields will like that. I’ll convert him to 3-D yet.