I had never heard of German choreographer Pina Bausch or her Tanztheatre Wuppertal until I saw “Pina,” Wim Wenders’ 2011 documentary, which synthesizes two distinct but complementary artistic visions to create that rarest of achievements, a masterpiece. At least, I think that word is fairly used here. It’s not only the choreography and the dancers who bring it to life that are extraordinary, thanks to the input of Pina Bausch. It’s Wenders’ ability to capture the whole while doing justice to the parts that makes this film so memorable. It is lush and spare at the same time, word-ful and word-less, mindful, respectful….and beautiful. It pursues a more nuanced interplay of body and spirit than Wenders’ much earlier, nearly-as-magical film, Wings of Desire (http://www.wim-wenders.com/movies/movies_spec/wingsofdesire/wingsofdesire.htm).
A.O. Scott’s review in the New York Times: http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/12/23/movies/pina-a-documentary-by-wim-wenders-review.html
Joan Acocella’s reveiw in The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2012/01/pina-bauschs-zone-of-discomfort.html
Mark Swed’s remembrance in the LA Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/07/pina-bausch-remembered.html