“Pina”: Illuminating

"Dance, dance, otherwise we're lost."

"Dance, dance, otherwise we're lost."

Give it a try if… You take finding the meaning of life as a serious task.

Steer clear if… You can’t watch a movie without eating popcorn.

Starting a new blog focused on “culturtainment” tips and reviews with this documentary on one of the most influential choreographers in the history of dancing might be a case of aiming too high… But then again, I can’t resist the temptation to pay homage to such an amazing work of art.

Wim’s Point of View

My admiration stems, of course, first and foremost from Bausch’s sublime Tanztheater – somehow each of the movements she created seems to speak directly to the deepest part of my soul  – but I find that Wenders’ inspired perspective adds even more creative value to it. The longtime cult German director has chosen to bring the dancing itself centerstage (hence the bizarre, but fortunate choice of 3D); he incorporates whole scenes of her shows, interspersed with melancholic statements by her main dancers, while hiding her cumbersome figure behind the scenes – or rather, flying around like a benevolent ghost leaving otherworldly brushstrokes.

A Loud-Speaking Absence

"You are the frailest. That is your strength."

"You are the frailest. That is your strength."

As a result, as I watched in awe I had the feeling that Pina was simultaneously nowhere and everywhere – in the heartbreaking silence of some of her collaborators, in the urban landscapes of Wupperthal (the city which still hosts her company, where most of the exterior scenes are set), in the yellowing leaves and the blooming flowers. Yes, flowers do bloom in Pina’s world: there is room for lightness and laughter, even though both originate from her intimate relationship with sorrow. In her work I perceived both the joy of an exploring child and the desperation of a dying woman – and felt that, indeed, the paradox of life cannot manifest itself with more clarity and richness than it does through the eyes of a great artist.

Not for Everyone

Pina Bausch by Donata Wenders (2004)

Pina Bausch by Donata Wenders (2004)

I strongly advise you not to miss this, possibly in 3D. Pick carefully the person/s to go with, reach the theater and prepare yourself for an unforgettable artistic experience. Before the lights dim, take a moment to look around; if you see anyone with popcorn or a Port Aventura look, immediately change your seat. In my case, my flirt with illumination was aided by the presence of one of my smartest friends, but frequently disturbed by the silly laughters of some uninformed viewers who clearly thought they were watching a German remake of “Dumb and Dumber”. The serial killer in me was yearning to get out… But in the end the Zen admirer won, thanks to Pina’s genius, and a few lives were spared.

UPS score (Utmost Perfection Scale): 10/10 + Standing Ovation

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