I'm paraphrasing, or at least writing from memory, but that's what Wim Wenders said before last Friday's screening of Pina at the Cinerama. If you don't already know (here's Jen Graves' great review from two weeks ago), Pina is Wim Wenders' tribute to the late, great choreographer Pina Bausch, but the poster tagline's more specific, identifying Pina as "a film for Pina Bausch." There are parts of Pina that are clearly "for Pina," and they're the least interesting part of the movie by far, involving dewey-eyed acolytes speaking of Pina like a New Age goddess, in voiceover. Blet.
But other than that, Pina is awesome, and achieves exactly what Wenders hopes it will: capturing a dance talent that's so deeply theatrical it will engage those who never thought they'd be interested in dance. (Wenders recounted how he'd always identified as a non-fan of dance, until his wife dragged him to a Pina Bausch performance and his brain exploded.) Watching the (long, gorgeous, 3D) chunks of Pina's work featured in Pina, I felt like I was seeing the root of all the dance I've loved most in Seattle, like, after years of loving Nirvana, I finally heard the Ramones. As Jen notes, the "purist dance critic Arlene Croce called Pina Bausch a pornographer of pain, a peddler of pathos, a mere dramatist," and the things that made Croce write those words is exactly what makes me love Bausch's work. Rather than have a dancer move as if someone were attempting to bury her alive, Bausch has another dancer actively attempting to bury her, casting shovelfuls of dark soil over the crawling dancer, with the movement of moist soil falling against, over, and off human skin as much a part of the dance as the movement of limbs. I loved it.
(Also, thoughout the film, watching the cavalcade of thin women with long, brunette, often wet hair wrangling with the elements, I kept thinking of PJHarvey.)