Not having seen his work for six years – the last release was Don’t Come Knocking (2005) – I clocked in for a preview of Wim Wenders’ new film Pina in the hope of finding possible clues to his thinking on Wagner’s Ring.
Pina, in UK cinemas next month, is a multi-sensational tribute to the dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch (1940-2009), whom Wenders once described as ‘the inventor of a new art: dance theatre’.
Undaunted by Bausch’s swift and sudden death as filming was due to begin, Wender built the film elliptically around her suggestive approach to the making of dance, a workaholic, family-intense involvement with her dancers, singly and collectively, to create an experience that touches both emotion and intellect.
Filmed within her Tanztheater in Wuppertal and on location in and around the industrial city, Wender gives an impression of how society evolves – from one creative mind, to a small group of co-workers, to a theatre, a city, a country, the world. Wagner’s Ring metaphor is never far from mind.
By shooting in 3-D, the first European director to do so, he reinforces the relation of one-to-all that is so integral to Wagner’s epic narrative. He also eliminates audience. Every act in the film takes place unobserved, as if the spectacle entirely exists for itself. He also makes every possoible use of natural elements – water, air, space, light, darkness.
All of these impressions quicken the pulse greatly for what Wenders might achieve at Bayreuth. He stands in boyish wonderment before a great work of art, as if seeing it for the first time. Whether such innocence will best serve the complexities and nototieties of agner’s cycle remains to be tested, but the premise is sound and the technology astonishing.
Will Wenders introduce 3-D to Bayreuth?