A really long movie about dancing and stuff

Tuesday April 19th 2011


Now I know you all get sick of me going ON AND ON about my passion for modern dance, but hopefully you’ll allow me one more journey into the world of interpretative choreography now that there’s a film coming out about it and all.

Pina is a 3D dance film showcasing the work of iconic German choreographer Pina Bausch, who died during production in 2009. It’s the first film in three years by everybody’s favourite auteur-who-looks-like-he-was-born-to-play-a-pedophile-in-a-public-service-announcement, Wim Wenders.

Obviously, the film’s arthouse credentials and use of 3D technology are prompting plenty of comparisons to Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, even if distributor Artificial Eye are very keen to point out that Pina actually went into production first. THAT’S RIGHT, FIRST!!!! OKAY?! TAKE THAT HERZOG YOU PLAGIARISING BASTARD!! YOU CAN STICK YOUR CROCODILE ANALOGIES RIGHT UP YOUR CHAUVET CAVE!!!

Nonetheless, the films share a decidedly gimmicky approach to 3D, which in both cases wears a little thin at about the 60 minute mark. And in Wim’s case, that’s barely halfway in. I mean – don’t get me wrong – it’s beautiful stuff, but are you seriously telling me that you couldn’t take out just 10 of those 106 minutes without sacrificing the film’s already barely-perceptible structure? Are you Wim? ARE YOU REALLY?

On many levels Pina is a spectacular film and its 3D cinematography, while pretty contrived, is often astonishing. But free from the pressures of ‘commercial 3D filmmaking’ (*distant sound of Mark Kermode spitting*) and desperate to make a landmark of arthouse cinema, Wimmy’s gone wild with power and crafted a film so breath-takingly indulgent that even the phrase ‘3D arthouse film about modern dance’ doesn’t do it justice.

Herzog 1 Wenders 0.