Wim Wenders latest curiosity is part documentary, part performance piece. Initially conceived as a documentary about the subject (Pina Bausch) it hit the complication of its subject dying half way through the filming. What remains is more of a tribute to her work (and the work of her company). As such whilst it succeeds as a performance piece, it does have failings as a documentary as there has been no attempt to place it within any context, and those starting anew on the subject will find themselves having to do supplementary studies afterwards.
The performances themselves are nothing short of superb (and the 3D for once adds an entirely new level, this was filmed in 3D – not post converted) and fortunately make up the bulk of the running time. It is impossible to criticise them.
Unfortunately the lack of context (any context) reduces it to a series of close-ups of the dancers between performances as they talk about the influence Bausch had on their lives (in voice over, adding yet another level of removal for the audience). Sj commented that it almost needed a programme for the audience to read in order to determine what was going on, I argued that as a film (and certainly a documentary) that sort of defeated the point.
Is it worth seeing? If you’re a fan of contemporary dance (and can find a showing that is in 3D, for once I’d argue it is essential to the experience) then yes, if not then it’s unlikely to convert you.