Pina made me impatient for at least an hour. A small part of it is seeing the film at BAM, where arriving at the specified showtime is considered entirely optional and in fact rather bourgeois, but whispering knowingly throughout the film is considered mandatory. A much larger part of it is the medium of dance; I respect it, and especially its physical demands, but it's…not my way, I guess. My response to "some situations have no words" is not "express the situation via the body." It's "get a thesaurus and try again."
The decision to shoot in 3D is understandable, but I don't know that it's necessary to the film's power. Some of the choreography is, in my opinion, overly obvious and earnest, and the grand plié denoting childbirth or the "I am floppy with grief" sequences aren't any fresher for seeming to happen in your lap. But the depth of field in the staging brings out a lot of cool visuals: dancers flashing through the foreground, water spinning outwards, men appearing as if from nowhere or out of a giant rock.
Still, the recurring themes of compulsion, inspection, the rearranging of the self don't require the eyes in order to have their effect. The pain and joy of the reverent interstitials, then reflected in dances on trams and in intersections and along hilltops, don't require glasses. The moment where a man curls up, sad, relieved, drained, at rest, on a woman's flat back as she walks is the moment where I realized I'd been there all along.
Absolutely not for everyone, Pina, but it's one of those movies I thank the Death Race for each year because it's knocked me a couple degrees to one side.
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