Director: Wim Wenders
As much as I love documentaries and the work of Wim Wenders, I find huge faults with his latest effort “Pina”. A documentary exploring the work of legendary choreographer, Pina Bausch, but from the perspective of this film, we learn nothing about why she’s legendary and why she’s important. To the films credit, it illustrates how she’s legendary. But expanding the film to 3D automatically makes it cinematic but this would only be the feature to consider this film as such.
The film starts when you put on your 3D glasses, a stage presentation takes you to her company as they waltz in a line and sign the changing seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter. The 3D adds depth, it looks and feels like a theater experience and a performance is being presented. But when the film gets more elaborate, and the dance gets more feverish, the pitfalls of 3D take over.
The way 3D is shot, in the framing is important to consider. 3D presents the foreground and background with depth, giving the audience a clear sense of an immersive experience, so in that way, 3D has to be precise. Movies like “Avatar,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and even “Green Lantern” shoot in a simplistic way to convey this experience. The problem here is Wender’s compositions are so rich in texture, that letting your eye wander to enjoy what he photographs is completely wrong for 3D. This will give the audience a headache, or at the least become increasingly annoyed by the technology.
The difference between “Pina” and “Step Up 3D,” another movie about dancers and also in 3D, is the director of “Step Up 3D,” Jon M Chu, understands the limitations of 3D and shoots things accordingly. The action or dance is front and center, you eye is drawn to this and leaves nothing in the background to catch it. This is a far more effective use of 3D and dance in a movie.
The content of “Pina” leaves much to desire as well. Again, we never get a sense of why Pina Bausch is important. We see why she’s important to her troupe, the gave their account of her and perform their piece but how is this interesting or a narrative. I would consider a documentary on the subject is hard to tackle but another film, I would direct the audience is “Music According To Tom Jobim”. This film is as much of an experiment as “Pina,” in terms of editing and subject matter. It’s not a conventional documentary either, there are no talking heads, where “Pina” benefits, but somehow “Music According To Tom Jobim” transcends its subject to something more cinematic and affections to the audience. Wherein, “Pina” fails.
I feel “Pina” would be best in small doses. If each piece were a short film instead or places together on Youtube, then this will capture your interest instead of putting you to sleep. Ultimately, “Pina” is a considerable experiment but really adds up to nothing meaningful or visceral, and give a bad name to an annoying technology.