Pina Bausch was one of the greatest choreographers of the past century, known for the visceral energy of her experimental work. Combining the precision of classical ballet with raw, almost elemental movements and stage sets, Bausch shook up the world of contemporary dance – and created a series of captivating shows before the dust had even settled. 



Wim Wenders’ Pina is a celebration of Bausch as an artist and an innovator. For the documentary, Wenders filmed dancers performing Bausch’s pieces in various striking locations around Wuppertal, the city where her company is based. In urban railway carriages or wild woods, on stages brimming with peat or flooded with water, Pina showcases the strength and elegance of the human form. 

Pina was one of the first documentaries to fully take advantage of 3D filming. Through Wenders’ camera, the swooping points of view place the audience among the dancers – intimately close to the electrifying intensity of the stage. 



Bausch was known for her distinctive choreography, which drew on dancers’ own experiences to fuel their creative expression. She developed a style called ‘Tanztheater’, which fused elements of dance and drama to form riveting, often unusual performances. Unafraid to push the boundaries of art and theatre, Bausch once said that “It is almost unimportant whether a work finds an understanding audience... We are not only here to please, we cannot help challenging the spectator.”

In Wenders’ film, Bausch and her methods are described by those who worked with her in awed voiceovers. Originally intended as a collaborative project with Bausch herself, Wenders almost cancelled the production when she passed away in 2009 – but ultimately decided to continue at the insistence of the dancers at Tanztheater Wuppertal, the company Bausch founded. As A. O. Scott wrote in The New York Times, the resulting film is “a memorial that is also a defiance of mortality – completely alive in every dimension”.

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