Wim Wenders on ‘Pina’ and the Future of Documentaries

On Tuesday, master filmmaker Wim Wenders received his second Academy Award nomination for his newest documentary – “Pina.” His previous nomination was for “Buena Vista Social Club” in 1999, both nominations being for the Best Documentary, Feature category. “Pina” is a beautifully shot film that acts as a tribute to Pina Bausch, the legendary choreographer of Tanztheater dance.¬†Since the 1970s, Pina was a leading influence in the world of modern dance with her unique style of portraying emotion in her compositions. She died on June 30, 2009 after collaborating with Wenders on the film itself – setting certain guidelines that he respected.

This resulted in the documentary taking a different path of what would be expected in that it is about Pina’s work, not her. She is shown in the film as a kind of wandering spectator, teaching her dance movements to the pieces that are the focus of the film. Wenders recalls that, “Pina was very adamant that the film should not be any way biographical because she was a modest person.” Pina and Wenders together chose the pieces that would be displayed in the film in one of the best uses of 3D technology so far.

Wenders explained that, “3D cinema made a giant jump forward as a whole, only not too many people notice because it [was] a gimmick for too long and the real possibilities of it are only now slowly showing up in movies [so audiences will] not only take it as an additional attraction.” He continued saying that 3D is “not the main thing of our movie, the main attraction is dance and not the language of the technology [it is a] service to Pina’s art. Pina and I had talked about a movie for 20 years but never actually… I’d always hesitated because I didn’t know how to do it and I always felt that my tools were not good enough, I couldn’t get to the essence of it.”

He also told of the moment when he really understood the potential of the technology, with just shooting his subjects sitting down looking into the camera. He described it as being “majestic.” He continued, “and that was the first time when I really started to understand that 3D was gonna be the biggest thing in documentaries of the future because it can put us in the presence of other people in a such a more impressive way, where you’re really confronting somebody.”

Wim Wenders will be in attendance during the tribute to Pina Bausch at the upcoming Olympic games in London saying, “I’ll be there for the entire month because I don’t want to miss that one.” His tribute for Pina Bausch will live on forever as an incredible account of her work that will serve as a passionate starting point for new generations of dance and filmmaking alike.

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