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Wim Wenders' 3-D documentary on Pina Bausch coming to U.S. theaters

March 31, 2011 |  4:27 pm

Skeptics of 3-D movies like to grouse about the format's constricted frame, dim picture quality and uncomfortable glasses. But naysayers may end up softening their stance once they see Wim Wenders' new movie, "Pina."

One of the best-received entries of this year's Berlin Film Festival, "Pina" is a 3-D documentary that explores the legacy of the late modern-dance pioneer. The movie, which opens around Europe this spring, has landed a U.S. distributor, Sundance Selects. The release date hasn't been set but a spokesman for the company said the movie will likely open stateside this fall.

Bausch, who died in 2009, was the artistic head of Tanztheater Wuppertal, a German group that fuses modern dance with theatrical flourishes into a kind of hybrid art form. Lewis Segal, former Times dance critic, said that "it is limiting to call her a choreographer; she liked the term 'dance theater.' She was important because she thought everything belonged together -- speech, movement, design, commenting on the audience."

Notoriously demanding, Bausch put her dancers through grueling rehearsal processes that some described as punishing and abusive. In a report from Berlin, critic Dennis Lim wrote in the New York Times that  Wenders "uses 3-D technology and evocative settings to summon the dreamlike potency of Ms. Bausch’s pieces, but her confrontational spirit seems to elude the film, which relies on bland, worshipful testimonials."

In 2007, Tanztheater Wuppertal appeared at UCLA's Royce Hall to perform "Ten Chi," a Japanese-influenced work. Segal wrote in his review that "Bausch's dance-theater is always a triumphant demonstration and affirmation of individuality."

"Pina" isn't the only 3-D documentary hitting movie screens this year. Werner Herzog -- who, like Wenders, is a veteran of the German New Wave -- has directed "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," an exploration of ancient paintings in the Chauvet caves of Southern France.


BauschAn Appreciation: Pina Bausch

Pina Bausch dies at 68; innovative German choreographer

In 'Ten Chi,' Pina Bausch roams through Japan with her distinctive style

Wim Wenders expected to direct Bayreuth 'Ring' cycle in 2013


 -- David Ng

Photo: Pascal Merighi of Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal at UCLA's Royce Hall in 2007. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times