Dir.: Wim Wenders
I find it very hard to explain what I felt exactly when watching this documentary. One word in particular seems to come to mind – beauty. “Pina” is essentially an homage to Pina Bausch, the famous German choreographer and founder of the Tanztheater Wuppertal who died in 2009. It is a series of performances by her dancers, both old and young, and their reminiscences.
As any person with a Russian upbringing I find that I am quite biased when it comes to ballet – there is only the Bolshoi troupe and everything else is amateurs’ games. Be that as it may, my knowledge of modern ballet is so miniscule that I have no idea of how to even begin describing what I saw during the film, using proper terminology. Personally, I find modern ballet a more democratic form of art that is much closer to performance art and is more forgiving to people’s physical imperfections. This unequivocal and unashamed approach to the human body is perhaps the most startling thing for me. The dancers’ bodies transform into metaphors, their expressions seem to transcend languages, cultures and backgrounds. Some of the performances in the film were comedic, others sad, but in general they were all full of very raw, human emotions like longing, love and passion. I loved the colourful frocks the female dancers were wearing and the unusual settings for some of the scenes – there is an undoubtful closeness to nature and the dancers often co-operate with the elements.
I also kept thinking of various paintings that, in one way or another, had a similar impact on me. For example, the very first dance in the film, Le Sacre du Printemps reminded me of the Rape of the Sabine Women by Jacques Louis David. Many other paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, Joan Miro, Alphonse Mucha, etc kept jumping at me. I think the reason for this is the link between the surreal aspect of visual art and modern ballet – both operate on the subconscious level, drawing on dream imagery and ultimately manifesting in personal associations like this. I thought of paintings because this is what I study everyday, someone else might think of books, music or films. All in all, this documentary was an incredible visual journey, devoid of words and full of expression. Aesthetically, this was one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a very long time.