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'Pina' review: An exquisite piece of art about dance, even if you don't care about that

  • "Anyone got a towel?"
"Anyone got a towel?"
January 19, 2012|By Matt Pais | RedEye movie critic

***1/2 (out of four)

Disclaimer: I don’t care about dance, and I don’t know anything about it.

So no one’s more shocked than I am at my reaction to writer-director Wim Wenders’ stunningly gorgeous documentary about German choreographer Pina Bausch. Rather than providing any biographical information that would fill out a biopic or a Google search, Wenders uses spectacular 3-D to bring viewers into the meat of a choreographer’s work: the dances.

Other than bits of archival footage, we see Bausch’s work performed both on stage and in unusual locations like the outside of a factory, the side of a street and the edge of a pool. Even for someone who would rather count sheep than attend a ballet, these scenes are nothing short of astonishing, beautifully presenting dance’s ability to depict words.

Bausch’s colleagues’ testimony to her greatness grows redundant—and who knows if “Don’t forget, you have to scare me!” really qualifies as a brilliant motivational statement—but the film comments on love, travel, work and gender with a combination of movement, music and scenery that begs to be seen in the biggest theater possible.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7:30 a.m. on WCIU, the U @mattpais

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