Sunday, January 29, 2012

Inventing the next cinema

I did not see Avatar, which sounds like exactly the kind of movie I would find annoying, so I guess I have not seen the pinnacle of modern 3-D film-making. One of the Harry Potters I saw had some 3-D scenes, which were fairly entertaining, but little better than the 3-D version of Dial M for Murder of many years ago. And now I see that they will be releasing a 3-D version of one of my all-time least favorite movies, Titanic.

So, is 3-D doomed to be a techy gimmick, adding a visual boost to action movies but otherwise creating the impression of a children's pop-up book? For the argument that there is more to it, look to recent documentaries by two of the great German auteurs of the postwar generation, Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders. Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a fairly static rendering of the paleolithic Chauvet cave paintings in France. It is a lovely if slightly silly film, enhanced (maybe) by Herzog's spacy narration and goofball existentialism.

But for a movie that gives a much better idea of the potential of the 3-D technology, Wenders's bracing Pina is where to start. A tribute to the German choreographer and dancer Pina Bausch, the film occasionally veers toward hagiography, but the dances are so brilliant, witty, and moving, you can forgive. Dance is an art of movement and music, but also an art of space, and it is space that Wenders evokes exquisitely using 3-D. This is hardly surprising, because Wenders himself is an artist of space (think Paris, Texas). Pina's version of The Rite of Spring is well worth the price of admission. We saw it opening weekend in Palo Alto, and the theater was nearly empty. Go see it, so we can get more Wim Wenders and less James Cameron... please?

1 comment:

  1. Wouldn't it be great if you could see the Rite of Spring in the Wuppertal Tanztheater?