PINA by Wim Wenders

PINA is a dance film with the ensemble of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, featuring the unique and inspiring art of the great German choreographer Pina Bausch, who died in the summer of 2009. PINA is directed by Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club, Wings of Desire), who was a long-standing friend of Pina’s.Wenders takes the audience on a sensual, visually stunning journey of discovery into a new dimension: straight onto the stage with the legendary ensemble and follows the dancers out of the theatre into the city and the surrounding areas of Wuppertal – the place, which for 35 years was the home of Pina Bausch. PINA reinvigorates the way 3D film technology can be used.

Pina Bausch is a legendary dancer and choreographer. Her unique creations transformed the language of dance and offer a visual experience like no other.

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Born as Philippine Bausch in 1940 in Solingen; under her nickname Pina she will later achieve international reputation with her Tanztheater based in nearby Wuppertal. Her parents run an inn as part of a hotel in Solingen, where Pina, like her siblings, lent a hand. She learns to observe people; above all, what moves people deep down. In her later work small pieces of this early childhood environment seem to resound: the sound of music, people coming and going, telling of their longing for happiness. But also the early experience of war is reflected in the pieces, as sudden outbursts of panic and fear of an anonymous threat.

Following first experiences at Solingen’s children’s ballet, at the age of 14 Pina Bausch started her dance training at the Folkwang Hochschule under Kurt Jooss. Before and after the Second World War, Jooss was a distinguished representative of the German modern dance movement, which had freed itself from the shackles of classical ballet. In his teaching, however, he reconciled the free spirit of dance revolutionaries with the principles of ballet. This is how the young dance student learned creative freedom as well as reaching proficiency in a clear form. Also important was the proximity to other arts, which are also taught at the Folkwang Hochschule: opera, music, drama, sculpture, painting, photography, design, and more. This wholly open approach will influence the choice of methods in her work as choreographer.

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In 1958 she was awarded the Folkwang-Price and armed with a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service, she leaves for one year as a special student at the Juilliard School of Music to New York. The city is a Mecca of dance, where classical ballet is being reinvented by the likes of George Balanchine, as well as the development of modern dance. Pina Bausch’s teachers include Antony Tudor, José Limón, and dancers of the Martha Graham Dance Company, Alfredo Corvino, and Margaret Craske. As a dancer she worked with Paul Taylor, Paul Sanasardo and Donya Feuer.

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Whenever possible she visits shows, absorbing all the trends. Enthused by the variety of artistic life in New York she extends her stay by another year; this time however she has to pay for her upkeep herself. Antony Tudor engages her at the Metropolitan Opera. The proximity to the opera and the respect for musical tradition will play a part in her later work as will her love for jazz.

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For her work Pina Bausch receives numerous awards and honours, including the Bessie Award in New York (1984), the German Dance Award (1995), the Berlin Theatre Award (1997), the Praemium Imperiale in Japan (1999), the Nijinsky Award in Monte Carlo, the Golden Mask in Moscow (2005), the Goethe Prize of Frankfurt / Main (2008). In June 2007, she is presented with a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for her life’s work, and in November of same year the prestigious Kyoto Prize.

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After a period of mourning and reflection and encouraged by many international appeals, the consent of the family, and the request of staff and dancers of the ensemble who were just about to start rehearsing the pieces selected for the film, Wim Wenders decided to make the film without Pina Bausch at his side, after all. Her inquiring, affectionate look at the gestures and movements of her ensemble and every detail of her choreography was still alive and present and inscribed into the bodies of her dancers. Now, in spite of the great loss, was the right moment, and maybe the last one to record all this on film.

pina wim

Wim Wenders’ film takes the audience on a sensual, visually stunning journey of discovery into a new dimension: straight onto the stage with the legendary Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch ensemble, he follows the dancers out of the theatre into the city and the surrounding areas of Wuppertal – the place, which for 35 years was the home and centre for Pina Bausch’s creativity.

wim wenders

This revolutionary 3D film PINA from director Wim Wenders captures the aesthetic of Pina Bausch’s greatest works in a thrilling way. PINA is not only one of the first European 3D movies ever, it is also the world’s first 3D art house film. Producer Gian Piero Ringel was faced with no easy task: “Technologically as well as with the genre, we enter completely unchartered territory with PINA. Even to find the technical experts for the development and implementation was a challenge, as there were very few.” Currently a new film language is being developed through the digital 3D process – a challenge for any producer. “Many other directors are still hesitating to work in 3D, because there are no successful models. We wanted to be a pioneers in the expansion of the cinematic language to 3D.”

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