I have a fear of Wim Wenders. I’ve tried medication and therapy but nothing seems to work. It all started as a teenager. I went to see ‘The State of Things’ at a local art house cinema. It’s a film about running out of money to make a film and sitting around the set waiting for finances to arrive so they can resume making their, in this case, post-apocalyptic drama. Or something along those lines. I can’t be sure as I think I fell into a deep coma about two thirds of the way through. Since then I have somewhat enjoyed ‘Paris Texas’ and liked the premise of ‘Wings of Desire’, though apart from the stunning visuals I wasn’t as crazy about the overall film as many I know. Yet in spite of this I still approach his films with a feeling of trepidation, a fear that I will be bored rigid and not have the gumption to walk out if the going gets tough, therefore subjecting myself to two hours of tedium.
Thankfully with ‘Pina’ he goes some way to redeeming himself. It’s not going to be a favorite of the year or anything but the visual set pieces created for this 3D documentary about Pina Bausch stick in your mind. Of course, there is that adolescent part of me that wants to spoof some of the strange dance sequences Bausch creates for her troupe but that’s a bit like laughing at the dance sequences in musicals because ‘that would never happen in real life’. Sometimes you just have to go with it.
At times I drifted off a little, purely because there isn’t a traditional narrative arc to take us through the loosely connected dance sequences. It’s as impressionistic as Pina Bausch’s choreography, creating mood pieces that suggest certain emotions to us, which is as it should be. The only thing I found a little disconcerting during this visual feast was the sight of the dancers bodies, hard and lithe, which drew my attention uncomfortably to my own porcine state. Maybe I should take up ballet.