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Film Analysis of PINA Documentary

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1081 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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 The documentary PINA is a tribute to the Pina Bausch, the German dancer and choreographer who passed away in 2009. She created different dances and broke down the limits between “ballet and theatre” with her dramatic choreographed acts combining “dance, speech, music and fantastic sets” (Britannica). This documentary speaks about her life and shows excerpts from her dances. The dancers that starred in the film are from her company, the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. The dances in “PINA” take places in tradition theater stage, city, sidewalks, tram cars, forests, and fields. Alternating between profoundly stylized, precise movements of hands, fingers, faces chests and limbs. Flowing and emotional movements, the dancers performed pieces of desire, violence, freedom, loneliness and abstract acts. In addition to the performances, the film incorporates conversations with dancers, their words dubbed over their silent, thoughtful faces. Instead of talking, they are reminiscing and

 reflecting on the significance and influence of their mentor.

 One of the dance pieces in the film was “Café Müller” an emotional and heartbreaking piece. This performance was done in an obstacle course of wooden chairs and table that surrounded the stage. The chairs are arranged randomly but cover the width of the stage. The music in the background is orchestral strings that give the piece that captures the energy, the use of space and flow of imagery throughout the piece. There is a door upstage right leading to a revolving door, and doors on either side of the stage. There are six dancers, three men, and three women. The dance moves about the stage, dancers moving in and out of duet. At various moments, one or more dance with eyes closed, rushing across the stage spread with chairs while the other dancers rush to move the furniture out of the way. The movement is frequently frantic and repetitive, pausing with a feeling of exhaustion. There are themes of manipulation and dependency throughout the dance, which are achieved through extreme repetition as well as trust between dancers that they will keep each other safe on stage in ranging states of consciousness. The dancers rely on each other to clear their pathways as they dance with their eyes shut, a solid example of the trust shared on-stage.

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Second dance shows a stage covered in dirt, dancers thrilled by the arrival of spring and engaged in the ceremonial of celebration. The piece is a mixture of ballet and contemporary and has a battle of the sexes. Men and women gathered in groups, at times hostile, tender until one is decided by fate to be sacrificed as she is placed in a red dress. The dance has an intense level of deep pulsing, darting, and panicked pacing which reminded me of a lost animal being chased by a predator. There is a sense of uneasiness implanted in the music and unleashed from deep within the dances in pleading reach of limbs, the distress of arches back, the heard like stamping of heels and due to the vigorous nature of dance. Dirt also clings to clavicles, streaked over torsos and smudged, war-like paint, along arm, foreheads, cheekbone, and mouths. It resembled as if a primal rage from the ancient ancestors was brought back to the modern world. It certainly grabbed my attention when I saw the horror in the “chosen women” face, her desperation in the body and face as she tried to grasp at the air and pulled her clenched fist to her gut, again and again. It seemed to mirror emotional agitation and fears, I was struck by her delicacy and vulnerability, but also her fierce strength.

Third was a piece which featured a creatively edited performance by dancers in two different versions featuring teenage/middle-aged and senior dancers. The customs of this piece were vibrant with all the different colored dresses. The setting being in a dance hall with the set that features three walls lined with simple black chairs, microphone, and a piano. The dance is split between smooth-faced youth and mature men and women with hope and longing in their faces as they find romantic interest. The dancers gestural is accumulated and repeated one by one and treat the audience like a mirror. Walking to the front of the stage, as they tuck in their hair, scrape back their hair and check their teeth. This piece which starting out fun and harmless quacking dose and 360 turn when the men, sitting in chairs, scoot across the stage while reaching for the women in the opposite side. This turns the tone and mood of the atmosphere dark and even violent when the men thrash their arm and women flinching at their touch. When all the women escape through an opening in the wall there is one woman left standing alone. One man appears, at first seeming to comfort her but soon she is surround by swarm of man who poke and prod at her. This part made me feel very uncomfortable as she is touched by nasty aggression by rubbish her nose, hair, keen and neck. 

In conclusion I thoroughly enjoyed watching “PINA” as each piece was marvelous work of art the made dance give a new definition in my views. The remarkable visual experience and the vivid representation by the talented dancers from her company.  Pina Bausch has changed my mind in how I viewed modern and contemporary dance, which now I understand can look out of context and odd yet could have a deep depth underneath the movement and emotions. Each performance captures the movement of the dancer in a way that was beautifully smooth and sharp. The performance also allows you to take in the environment they are as they show their skills, beauty and grace of their bodies. This film was a work of art, a celebration of Pina Bausch’s work and a testimonial to her influence not only on the world of dance but on the lives of individuals. 

Work cited

  • Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopedias. “Pina Bausch.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 23 July 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Pina-Bausch.
  • Wenders, Wim, director. Pina. YouTube, 20 Jan. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RQUAtF6crc.

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