PINA - News Stories and Reviews from the English-speaking Press


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by David Jays

“....This modest, frail, tender person had a strength that could move a mountain. She could turn water to fire.” Even more simply, Kaufmann believes, “she had questions inside her, and they needed to be answered”. That need burns brightly in her early masterpiece Café Mueller (1978), the first Bausch work Wenders saw. Its impact was decisive: “I couldn’t believe that somebody in 40 minutes was able to tell you more about men and women than the entire history of cinema. It still blows my mind.......”

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by Sarah Crompton

Pina Bausch was one of the world’s most radical and influential dance-makers. So it seems entirely fitting that the film made in tribute to her by director Wim Wenders should be the first to suggest the real artistic possibilities of 3D.

Pina is both moving and miraculous in all kinds of ways. To begin with, it is an extraordinary record of the work that Bausch made since first setting up her company in Wuppertal in 1973. Pieces such as The Rite of Spring and Café Müller are filmed with a passion and vitality that make them almost as vivid and powerful as they are on stage. By placing his cameras in the middle of the action, Wenders makes them participants as well as recorders.
Other pieces are filmed outside, in settings in and around the industrial German town that Bausch’s Tanztheater company put on the map. One of the dancers says that Bausch saw them as her paints, so Wenders frames them in a way that makes them look like paintings.
But, when he makes them perform on traffic islands, or in disused factories, darkened tunnels and modernistic transport systems, he is also asserting Bausch’s belief that dance is part of life, a language that can express emotions beyond words. “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost,” she said – and that is both the film’s subtitle and its driving force.
But Wenders does something unexpected: he actually uses the 3D as a metaphor, creating an almost sculptural memorial for his friend, who died unexpectedly two years ago. So he sets her photograph in a recess at the back of the action: her inspiration is behind everything. He lets his camera rest on the faces of her dancers as they talk, paying tribute like mourners at a memorial service.

Towards the end of the movie, the dancers perform in a space that seems like a tomb. They move across a barren landscape, endlessly repeating the series of ritualistic hand gestures that are a characteristic of so much of Bausch’s work. They seem to walk on for ever, vanishing into the distance – and then, finally, we are back in Pina’s own theatre, and a flickering film of her dancing plays on the back wall, fading but ever present, as we sit in the audience watching her and the work she has created.

By this point, I had stopped seeing the film as a 3D spectacular; I simply felt overwhelmed by the way that Wenders wraps you inside the emotional resonance of his tribute.

.... All, in different ways, made me begin to feel that my cynicism about 3D may be misplaced; what I had dismissed as a passing fad may indeed be here to stay. But it took a director as good as Wim Wenders – and a choreographer as great as Bausch – to make me believe that the medium may offer a rich new palette to filmmakers.

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By Kate Muir


...On Sunday, 3-D grew up and became a sophisticated medium as Wim Wenders presented the premiere of his ground-breaking film of Pina Bausch’s modern dance troupe. Pina brought the festival audience an experience beyond live stage performance, as dancers launched themselves out of the screen and we saw their emotions, sweat and sinews with no distance between entertainer and the entertained. This is the beginning of a whole new use of 3-D, bringing elite experiences to a wider audience...

...Bausch, who died in 2009, was the choreographer and director of Tanztheater Wuppertal, the German-based experimental dance troupe. Pina is a balletic festschrift, with individual dancers dedicating performances to her. It is hard to convey the sheer excitement of early scenes as the dancers leap and strut wildly on a stage covered in sand, men versus women, in a story of anger, agony, fear and hurt that could take on any interpretation and ends in dirt and dishevelment. “There are some emotions that leave you utterly speechless,” Bausch said. “All you can do is hint at things..

...The film is incredibly moving, and you are barely aware of Wenders’s clever cuts that allow dancers to age, change and disappear like magic. Wuppertal, the theatre’s industrial home town, is used as a backdrop: dancers leap from traffic islands, a man in a tutu rolls on a mining trolley and a woman puts veal in her pointe shoes and pirouettes before factory chimneys...

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by Deborah Young

...German artists Wim Wenders and Pina Bausch's 3D dance film is a must for dance buffs everywhere, who will lose themselves in the strange, hypnotic numbers...

...It would be hard to find a more perfect match than Wim Wenders and Pina Bausch: two German artists who have left their mark on modern filmmaking and choreography to the point of becoming icons of their art...

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By Charlotte Higgins

...However, said Wenders: "I never knew, with all my knowledge of the craft of film-making, how to do justice to her work. It was only when 3D was added to the language of film that I could enter dance's realm and language." 3D, with its illusion of depth, could, it was felt, open out the flatness of the cinema screen and give dance the depth and sculptural quality it needed to work cinematically...

Wim Wenders on Pina: 'Pina had gone deep into research of the human soul'
The director of Pina tells Charlotte Higgins how filming in 3D helped honour her memory.
click here for the filmed interview with Wim Wenders


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By Cathrin Schaer

...Well, have no fear. This movie is so beautiful it aches - which is highly appropriate because of Bausch's style of choreography. And the 3D effects do for the dance what the close up and action replay did for televised rugby games. You get to see everything and it's visceral: the sinews in the dancers' bodies, their panting and the shuffle of their feet as they move across the floor. It's - somewhat unexpectedly - pretty amazing. Possibly (sorry, dancers) even more amazing than seeing modern dance live...

...The 100-minute movie was incredibly well received - the packed cinema, which has around 1,600 seats, burst into prolonged applause after the press screening. And that doesn't often happen with press screenings, where most people just leave quietly to file their stories after it's all over...

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By Lee Marshall

...Billed as “the world’s first 3-D arthouse film”, Wim Wenders’ tribute to the late German choreographer Pina Bausch proves that 3-D and contemporary dance are made for each other. The stereography looks great, and makes an eloquent and exhilarating case for extending the remit of the 3-D feature beyond animation and action blockbusters...

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By Andrew Pulver

...Presumably the 3D's main role is to substitute for the "liveness" of the original performance, and there's no doubt that 3D adds a lusciousness of texture to the company's already refined and polished visuals. As the camera hovers over lines of dancers moving in unison, or inspects their controlled, intense gestures, Wenders creates an impeccably stylish, almost sculptural rendering of the performance...

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By Nick James

...Fortunately, a few outstanding films, including some refreshing uses of 3D technology in documentaries from the old guard of 1970s New German cinema, made it worth the visit. Pina, Wim Wenders's 3D tribute to the late choreographer-dancer Pina Bausch, for instance, was thrilling and revelatory. As a spectator, to be positioned by the camera above, beside and amid the dancers of Bausch's Wuppertal troupe is not unlike floating bodiless through more solid phantoms. All of Bausch's best-known pieces are present: her interpretation of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring", in which feral single-sex gangs stomp on a layer of brown earth, or her "Café Müller", where female dancers staggering about with closed eyes have faith that male partners will remove chairs from their path. Wenders sets several dances – and purists may baulk at this – in spectacular outdoor locations; for me the experience was nothing but uplifting...

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By Leslie Felperin

...Offering further proof that the latest 3D technology is good for a lot more than just lunging knives and fantastical storylines, Wim Wenders' dance docu "Pina" reps multidimensional entertainment that will send culture vultures swooning. A tribute to Pina Bausch, one of modern dance's most groundbreaking choreographers, pic lets the artist's work speak for itself via big, juicy slabs of performance...


f German artists Wim Wenders and Pina Bausch's 3D dance film is a must for dance buffs everywhere, who will lose themselves in the strange, hypnotic numbers. I