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Movie Review | Pina

The documentary Pina is about the life works of choreographer Pina Bausch, who died suddenly in 2009, five days after being diagnosed with cancer. A documentary was supposed to be made about her, but she passed away during the preparations for it; production was canceled, although the dancers involved still wanted to make the film. It focuses on modern dance, which is a little hard to understand for some, and the film was strange but many of the dance sequences were very beautiful.

The movie has four separate sequences: Le sacre du printemps, Café Mueller, Kontakthof, and Vollmond (Wikipedia). In Le sacre du printemps, we see men with rakes cleaning the stage, as it is covered in what looks like sand, but which is actually peat. It’s a strange way to start the film, but it does catch the audience’s attention. In Café Mueller, we see a cafe with various chairs strewn about, and different people doing repetitive actions in each of the corners and in the middle. Kontakthof, which was my favorite, features a ballroom of sorts; at first, you see younger dancers in a line, but as the camera shifts, all of a sudden older dancers, wearing the same dresses and suits, are in their places. The last, Vollmond, features a flooded stage, as Pina was a fan of using the elements in her work, and the dancers are splashing about and moving through the water.

Maybe see this film. I am not a huge fan of modern dance, but I did appreciate the movie’s talents, costumes, and choreography. The film was also in 3D, which was fabulous; it makes you feel as if you are sitting in an actual theater watching a live performance. I enjoyed the second half of the film more than the first, but it still is not a film that I would actively seek out in the theater. Most of the scenes were shot in Germany, which provides for some nice outdoor scenery; the others were shot indoors. The film also features dancers from the company saying their thoughts and memories of Pina Bausch, and they all speak different languages, so subtitles are used; I recognized German, Spanish, and one or two speaking in French, too.  Pina has been nominated as the German entry for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars, and it will be interesting to see how it fares against its competition, as at the time of this writing it had an admirable 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Pina is currently in theaters, and is rated PG with a runtime of 106 minutes.

 

Liz is our regular movie reviewer and writes for her film blog (Yes/No Films) and book blog (Books I Think You Should Read), as well as Examiner.com and CBS Detroit. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.