Monday, January 09, 2012

In Her Steps

Wim Wenders on the genesis of his new dance documentary Pina. (BOMBlog)

CH: Pina and her work have been on film a few times—Chantal Akerman made a documentary touring with her. What did you want to do differently, or what did Pina want to do differently on film?

WW: Pina had been present for several recordings—of course there were documentaries about her personally—but several of her plays had been recorded and she was disenchanted with it. She felt that one should be able to better recording dance and her work. We had differences, Pina and I, in the film. My interest was to understand and throw light on how Pina watched people and how she was able to transform what she saw into her pieces. What was the secret of these eyes, to see and decipher movement better than anybody else before, even us filmmakers, for instance? What enabled her to understand the language of bodies? I really wanted to make a film about Pina’s eyes. Pina’s interest from the beginning was that she felt there needed to be a way to film her work, and to film dance, that was more appropriate—that was somehow doing it more justice. She was disenchanted with what existed. Her need for that was obvious because, when we first talked, she had a body of twenty works and when we finally made the film, she had a body of forty-eight works. The cruel thing about dance theater is you can’t pass it on to someone else—you can’t write it down, it’s only this company, with her, that could perform it and if she wasn’t performing her work anymore it didn’t exist anymore. She wanted some of her pieces to exist. That’s what we tried to do for twenty years.

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