When I spoke to Wim Wenders about his 3D documentary, PINA, on December 12, 2012, he was looking forward to seeing what Martin Scorsese had done with 3D in HUGO. Wenders, now that he’s discovered the subtleties of 3D, and has solved the technical issues that come with using it, is planning on using the technology again for what it can add to storytelling beyond the action flick. Not surprising. He developed a great deal of the technology used to capture the stunning choreography in his film dedicated to Pina Bausch and her dancers. It’s not unlike the technical advances in sound that he made with another of his documentaries, the Oscar(tm)-winning THE BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB. Beyond the trick keeping the image sharp, Wenders discusses the visceral effect that Pina’s work had on him from the first time he saw it, having been reluctantly dragged to a recital by his then girlfriend, as well as why he waited for almost a decade to attempt to render the dancing cinematically. Wenders being the author of one of my favorite films, WINGS OF DESIRE, I ended the interview by asking him to tell me anything he wanted to about the late Peter Falk’s involvment. The story, of asking a famous actor to leave for Berlin immediately to appear in a film that didn’t have a script as such, is an anecdotal gem, as is Wender’s palpable affection for Falk’s delight in improvising using a box of hats and only his imagination.
PINA is Wender’s documentary for and about choreographer Pina Bausch, and her work at the Tanztheatre Wuppertal Ensemble. Begun before Pina’s death in 2009, and continued afterwards as his tribute to her and to her vision, the film makes some of the best use of 3D in filmmaking to date, capturing the physical, as well as the emotional depth, of Pina’s work that redefines what dance can be. Wenders, a prolific and award-winning filmmaker, has authored such works at THE BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB, PARIS, TEXAS, and the sublime WINGS OF DESIRE. This is his first venture into 3D