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Directed by Wim Wenders
Produced in 2011
Main Language - German with English subtitles
Wenders' film about the brilliant avant-garde choreographer Pina Bausch captures lightning in a bottle, says Milo Wakelin.
Pina Bausch, who died suddenly in 2009, was a legend in the world of modern dance, and Wim Wender’s evocative, visually powerful tribute to her life’s work captures lightning in a bottle and watches it move.
Bausch popularised tanztheater, literally, ‘dance theatre’, which fuses dance and drama, movement and emotion into pure expression. As well as showing excerpts from some of Bausch’s best known works – The Rite of Spring, Café Mueller, Kontakthof and Vollmond – Wenders shows members of her troupe performing moving tributes to their friend and teacher in and around the landscape of Wuppertal, Germany. The result is poignant, but interwoven with Bausch’s distinctive visual wit, it never fails to engage and entertain.
Tragically, mere days before filming was due to start, time suddenly ran out with Bausch’s untimely death. Wenders, however, decided to continue his project. Members of Bausch’s dance troupe, the Tanztheater Wuppertal, give moving recollections on her collaborative method of working, in which she would challenge them to express their emotions through movement, and incorporate the results into each new work. These brief talking head sequences are followed by striking solo performances filmed in quarries, factories, forests, bustling streets and moving trains, they are funny, moving and physically daring, and showcase the startling clarity of Wenders’ cinematography.
This immaculately beautiful documentary is clearly a tribute to Bausch’s life and work, not a postmortem, and anyone expecting biographical revelations or a detailed disection of Bausch’s long and remarkable career will be disappointed. Bausch herself was reluctant to discuss or explain her pieces, so it is fitting that the enormous sense of love, loss and respect felt towards her should be communicated through her chosen medium.
In Buena Vista Social Club, Wenders showed his ability to capture the intimacy of live performance, and here his camera is less an observer of each dance than an active participant sharing a common performance space. The athleticism, control and expressiveness displayed here is truly breathtaking.
Milo Wakelin on 26th August 2011
Author of 105 reviews
Wim Wenders pays tribute to the work of brilliant avant-garde German choreographer Pina Bausch. When Bausch tragically died of cancer two days before shooting began, the film, which was originally intended to follow Bausch at work in rehearsals and on tour, became instead an homage to her life and work, interweaving excerpts from her stage works and interviews with the dancers. Filled with entrancing, expressive physicality, this is simply a wonderful watch.
Publisher: Artificial Eye
Length: 103 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Cat No: ART535DVD
Format: DVD Colour
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