Blu-ray Review: Wim Wenders’ ‘Pina’ Captures Vitality of Dance on Disc

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CHICAGO – “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.” Wim Wenders’ “Pina” is mesmerizing. It’s really the best word for it. Mesmerizing. It is the blend of two master craftsman — a director with an eye for composition like the man who made “Wings of Desire” & “Paris, Texas” and a choreographer who knows how to fill that composition with fascinating works of art in the form of dance. Some of the more modern inclusions in The Criterion Collection in recent years have been questionable. Not this one. Blu-ray rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Wim Wenders’ friend Pina Bausch, a spectacularly talented interpretative dance choreographer, died during the filming of “Pina.” Wenders worked with her dancers to finish the film after first considering shelving it altogether. It is, consequently, a stunning eulogy, a work that affirms her creative life as much as it mourns the loss of a true talent. And it is visually captivating. Many of the dance numbers take place on stage but Wenders also takes the dancers into the world, performing numbers on trains, in shipyards, on city steps, by a crowded pool, and so on. Dance in the world of “Pina” is not a show. It is life.

Sadly, I do not have a 3D TV although I’ve amassed a notable collection of 3D Blu-rays through my work. The first one I’ll watch when I do get one will be “Pina”. The 2D disc also included is so visually stunning with a perfectly mastered HD transfer. The colors pop in ways you haven’t seen in a typical dance documentary. “Pina” is not a typical documentary.

Pina was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on January 22, 2013
Pina was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on January 22, 2013
Photo credit: Courtesy of The Criterion Collection

The boundless imagination and physical marvels of the work of the German modern-dance pioneer Pina Bausch leap off the screen in this exuberant tribute by Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire). A long-planned film collaboration between the director and the choreographer was in preproduction when Bausch died in 2009. Two years later, Wenders decided to go ahead with the project, reconceiving it as an homage to his late friend. The result, shot in stunning 3D, is a remarkable visual experience and a vivid representation of Bausch’s art, enacted by a group of staggeringly talented dancers from her company, the Tanztheater Wuppertal. Pina is an adventurous work of cinema that highlights the bold legacy of one of the world’s true creative visionaries.

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary Featuring Wenders
o The Making Of Pina
o Deleted Scenes, With Commentary By Wenders
o Behind The Scenes Footage
o Interview With Wenders
o Trailers
o Booklet Featuring An Essay By Novelist And Essayist Siri Hustvedt, Reprinted Pieces by Wenders and Pina Bausch, Guide To The Dances Featured In The Film, and Portraits Of The Dancers

“Pina” was directed by Wim Wenders and released by The Criterion Collection on January 22, 2013. content director Brian Tallerico

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