HL



The Paradox of Pina 3D — the portrait of the artist in '2D'

Cinephiles have probably taken a glimpse of the work of the German modern dance choreographer, Pina Bausch (1940-2009), before come across Pina (Wenders, 2011) recently, albeit they might not be aware of the legendary figure by the time. I am referring to an early scene in Hable con ella (Almodóvar, 2002), a sexual-charged reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. In this brief but pivotal sequence, two of the protagonists are watching Café Müller, one of the choreographer's masterpieces, in a theatre. Like many other films featuring characters as audience/ spectators by Almodóvar, the scene with its ballet of gazes is about the act of looking and we are invited to be a part of it. Nevertheless, it is the stunning choreography and the eloquent movements of the dancers catch our eyes and become the spectacle within the scene. Narrative is thus temporarily suspended. Even though one has no prior knowledge of modern dance, I doubt there will be any difficulties for him/ her to appreciate the sublimated beauty of the piece or even deeply moved by it like the above characters do. Therefore, it is not unnatural for one to think: if such an indirect rendering of the art of Bausch is proved to be so effective [1], Pina 3D, a supposedly more faithful and direct record of the master's art (and made by her friend, Wenders, as well), would be a more captivating visual feast, a spellbinding 3D experience and an inspiring insight into the world of Pina Bausch which ultimately preserves the aura of the performances of her company (Tanztheater).

Or is it only what we wish?




Film of Forgotten Dream—Musing 3-D

When Herzog's torch-beam is illuminating the interior of the Chauvet Cave throughout his new 3-D adventure, Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010), the effect is not unlike surveying the prehistoric rock paintings on the wall through an iris, a long-abandoned cinematic vocabulary which was much more in use during the infancy of the medium (it seems that the technique can only be occasionally spot in films by cinephile-directors like François Truffaut after that period). While the German filmmaker further contemplates the 'proto-cinematic' tendency of these paintings in his usual idiosyncratic voiceover commentary, the film seems to possess a self-reflexive subtext. Nevertheless, more than tracing cinematic imagination to the remote era, Cave is also a belated anticipation of the technological advent of stereoscopicity (of course the film is not solely about these issues and they are hardly Herzog's main concern). In other words, the film revisits the past but tells more about the future.




How does Mlle. Nina run amok

【may contain spoilers】

When Nina (Natalie Portman) knows she is being cast as both the Swan Queen and its alter ego, the Black Swan, in a modern version of Swan Lake, she thinks it is a dream-come-true, a pay-off for her devotion to the art of ballet and her agonizing daily training in the company. Nevertheless, this dream is far from sweet and actually more close to the grotesque, crazy and strange 'prologue' she dreams about in the beginning of the film and it soon turns chaotic and nightmarish.