Photo by Julie Cunnah

Wim Wenders attended two screenings at Film Society last weekend of Pina, his new-classic 3D dance documentary that's been a smash since it opened last month. At packed Q&As after the films, Wenders talked about the first time he saw Pina Bausch's work. “I was introduced to her against my will,” he said, at a retrospective his girlfriend forced him to attend.

The night ended up changing his life.

Holding the stage with halting wit and a charming shock of hair, Wenders said he and Bausch planned the documentary for more than two decades. But he could never quite figure out how to film the dance sequences—until he found the solution in, as he put it, “something as profane as a new technology”: 3D. 

“That was the solution of 20 years of thinking and torturing myself and of looking at the entire history of dance films,” he said. “It was so obvious: space was there for the very first time.”

A gorgeous collage of the late choreographer's work, Pina is also a bracing reinvention of what the dance film can and should be. (Later this month, the Film Society will delve even deeper into this question with our annual Dance on Camera series.) After a hit festival run including a stint at the New York Film Festival, the film opened its theatrical run to a warm critical embrace. A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote that the movie is “completely alive in every dimension,” adding: “Instead of enduring yet another well-meaning specimen of ‘dance on film’ you are experiencing dance and film, fully and simultaneously.”

Complete videos of the Q&As are below. If you haven't experienced Pina yet, you're in luck: it has been extended through next week! And don't miss Wenders's masterpiece Kings of the Road (NYFF '76), which is not available on DVD and screens Saturday at 2:00pm as part of our series “50 Years of the New York Film Festival.”