Posts Tagged ‘lincoln center’
After hearing about it for months, I finally got a chance to see Pina, the 3D documentary by Wim Wenders at Lincoln Center last week. It definitely stands up to the hype. Not only does the film capture the emotional impact of Pina’s work for stage, but the artistry of the filmmaking and storytelling completely renewed my faith in the power of dance, film and performance.
I have been a reserved skeptic about the 3D trend in cinema. I still don’t fully believe it will take off and become a permanent format, but Wender’s use of 3D for this film went to another level that was highly gratifying. Pina’s dances pop out and feel alive, while the intimate framing of the choreography was so satisfying to watch. The opening scene is of a performance of Bausch’s Rite of Spring. The shot places us right there in the dirt with the Virgin, and we feel the dust rise up and the stampede of life rush over us. As the piece builds to the sacrafice, we are increasingly pulled into the drama and the terrifying emotions of performers on a collision course with a violent fate.
Woven between scenes from Bausch’s famous dances, are vignettes highlighting each dancer in the Tanztheater Wuppertal Company. The intimate portraits of the dancers gave me a great appreciation for their craft and Pina’s unique method of directing through observance. These vignettes, shot out of doors and in public spaces are like gifts offered up to the memory of Pina, disseminating her spirit throughout the world. I particularly loved a scene shot on a suspended cable car with the elder dancer, Dominique Mercy in cardboard elf ears sitting coyly in back while a raven haired Aida Vainieri enters the car like a terminator monster in a white cocktail dress, ready to devour towns and villages. As she stomps her way to her seat, the reactions of the innocent bystanders are priceless.
I must admit, I have never been a huge fan of Pina Bausch’s choreography on stage. While I respect the work and the theatrical breakthroughs she achieved, I have always found myself unable to sit through an entire evening of her work. After two plus hours of vignettes, I would become desensitized to the emotional subtleties of the performance and mentally fatigued. My reaction to her work on screen has always been the exact opposite. I fall in love every time. I gushed over the scenes of Café Müller in Pedro Almodovar’s “Talk to Her,” and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the documentaries made about Pina over the years. The power of film editing is what I need to appreciate Pina’s brilliance, and Wender’s Pina does this supremely well. I hardly realized two hours had elapsed, and I was left wishing it would never end.
Wender’s film does not give Bausch’s life story nor explain how she died, it simply captures the world she created and lived in everyday. “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.” This quote is the mantra of the film, and we come to believe it with our whole hearts, minds and bodies. If you want to renew your vows dance, or make someone else fall in love with dance, go see this film. You will be transformed and feel much better for it.
New Yorkers and dance film-lovers from around the world look forward to the Dance On Camera Festival each year. For the past 40 years, this annual festival has been the central anchor and source for new dance on film. The 40th edition of the Dance On Camera Festival will take place from January 27-31 at the Walter Reade Theater as well as the new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center.
While we at Move the Frame tend to focus primarily on dance made for the screen, the festival’s programmers have always made an effort to encompass the vast range of styles and genre’s that make up dance film. “We try to reach far and wide to find films that connect dance and camera in ways that will surprise and inspire viewers to deepen their interest in both mediums,” says Joanna Ney, co-curator of the festival. “This year’s selection offers a diversity of subject, style and genre aimed at the traditionalist as well as the iconoclast.”
Dance enthusiasts will find many documentaries about dance luminaries such as Natalia Makarova and Robert Wilson, historic dance presenters and companies such as Jacob’s Pillow, the Joffrey Ballet, and Pilobolus, and innovative choreographer Wayne McGregor. Film enthusiasts will enjoy innovative shorts by inspired directors such as Clara Van Gool, Pontus Lidberg, and New York’s own Jody Oberfelder.
In another post we’ll share with you our personal picks for the festival, but for now, go to DFA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s websites to see the full lineup, as well as schedule and ticket information.