Pina

5 Mar

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Yesterday afternoon I went to see Pina, the new film by Wim Wenders. Sitting in the cinema a few minutes before the lights went down, I wondered what was expecting me . I’ll be honest and say that the first few minutes I wasn’t completely into the film as we started with Pina Bausch’s choreography for Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring but that probably has something to with the fact that I’ve never seen a real ballet on screen before and the fact that the plastic 3D glasses get on my nerves a little, a kind of barrier between me and the film. Later though, I realised that it made perfect sense to start with this piece. The girl chosen in the Rite music simply dances to death in order for the spring to come; Pina Bausch was someone driven by the need to dance and work with dancers right until the very end; her choreography is full of situations where people have to overcome something by movement; dance is the only way to express their anger or sorrow. At the end of the film, we hear Pina say the film’s slogan written on the posters, “Tanzt, tanzt, sonst sind wir verloren”, “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.”

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The structure of the film is basically broken down into scenes from her most famous ballets, reminiscences from dancers and clips of Pina herself, beautiful and often smiling with those famous eyes which could look right inside you and see all your fears. There’s the famous Café Muller, set to the music of Purcell which Pina performed many times, closing her eyes and stumbling across the stage like a sleepwalker as a man desperately tries to move all the chairs out of the way in time. It has to be one of the saddest and most moving things I’ve seen, especially when the dancer who later played this part tells us that she never wanted to learn the role, even when asked by Pina. She wanted Pina to always dance it.

As the film went on I found myself hypnotised by the magic of dance, the way the characters interect with or overcome the elements, water, earth and rock, their pain and loneliness and search for some kind of connection. Seeing the credits roll, I could only feel sad that Pina Bausch herself didn’t see such a magnificent tribute. I thought back to last year’s Peter Lindbergh exhibition at the C/O on Oranienburger Straße and the shot of dancers stood on chairs, just the back of their legs with the seams of the stockings pulled straight and the message that he missed her.

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The scene with the dancers walking across the hillside made me think of the famous one in Bergman’s Seventh Seal but that was about death and here it’s much more a kind of resurrection, keeping her spirit alive with her work, the rich colours of the clothes and the soft golden light and simply dancing into the distance.

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2 Responses to “Pina”

  1. Kat March 6, 2011 at 6:15 am #

    hey,
    this is a lovely blog!!! what a great idea!
    i really want to see “pina” now, but it’s not out in montreal yet. thanks for writing about it and bringing it to my attention! looking forward to more films!
    kat

  2. emilycinephile March 6, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Thanks honey, I would so loved to have seen it with you as I know you’re also a Wenders fan – the other day, I read through your post on Cinephilia in Berlin. Pina is such an amazing film so I’m sure you’ll love it.

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