The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences 2012 Oscar nominations have been announced and two 3D favorites are being recognized.
Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” tops the list with 11 nominations, and Wim Wenders’ “Pina” has been nominated for best documentary feature.
Other important 3D films—Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” and Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams“—were not nominated, and “Pina”, Germany’s entry for best foreign film, was crowded out of that category by stiff competition.
Oscar nominations along with the accompanying recognition and campaigns will raise the profile of any film. In the case of these two ground-breaking films it adds gravitas to the field of 3D filmmaking and proves that the popular success of “Avatar” was not a fluke but the beginning of a new golden age in 3D cinema.
Anthony Lane reviews Pina in the latest issue of the The New Yorker.
The question is, What do you get from “Pina” that you could not get from watching the Tanztheater live? Answer: More than you could possibly believe. This is not just a matter of the al-fresco scenes, or of our proximity to the dancers, near enough to hear them pant. There is also Wenders’s decision to shoot the film in 3-D, and, in so doing, to goad stereoscopic technology into its first leap since “Avatar.” Not before time; 3-D was stalling badly, but now we are back on track, thanks to Scorsese’s “Hugo” and to Wenders, who takes no more than a minute to flourish his credentials.
It’s gorgeous. Lyrical, subtle, joyful, witty, inspiring, and deeply moving. The film presents four of Bausch’s modern dance pieces, interspersed with vignettes—danced and spoken by company members as well as some archival footage.
The backstory is heartbreaking—Bausch passed away before shooting could begin and never got a chance to see her very ephemeral art captured so lovingly on screen. Her work is deeply emotional and very theatrical. I’ve seen plays within films before (Olivier’sHenry V, Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast) but never anything that emulated the experience of being at a live performance so profoundly.
It’s great work, Wenders is a great filmmaker, but the masterful use of the 3D stereoscopy tool truly makes it transcendent.
The show sold out, the audience included a who’s who of the local art and museum scene. In the lobby people were offering to buy tickets off those who had them.
Unfortunately this was a single screening, in a sub-optimal oddly shaped theatre, with bad sound, cheap glasses, faulty AC and a technical snafu that made the first few minutes unwatchable (double image but not in 3D—hoots and howls from the upscale artsy crowd). I can’t wait to see it again, somewhere great.
I was accompanied by a couple artist friends who were ready to hate it. They came away saying it was the best film they’d seen in ages.
The truth is, we are on the verge of a golden age of 3D as an artistic medium. Whether or not you care about modern dance—this film is a masterpiece. In Pina 3D is not a gimmick but an essential component of telling the story and immersing us emotionally into what is on the screen.
I hope it wins every prize. I hope it inspires a new generation of filmmakers and audiences alike. I know it inspires me.
It puts forward a passionate, eloquent vision of what is possible with 3D as an artistic tool. Wenders has created “Pina”, a film featuring the work and creative company of the late Pina Bausch. He screened some clips from the film and it’s amazing. I can’t wait to see the whole thing. Here’s the trailer:
The speech is long and reads like an epic poem but it’s really a manifesto challenging the trivialization of 3D as an artistic tool. Anyone interested in 3D, film, or art in general should read this. I will be posting my favorite quotes starting with this one:
[on working on “portraits”, close-ups of the dancers]
I must say: I was, again, unprepared. We had been using this technology for weeks already, and had started to “understand” it, learn how to move the camera, learn how to deal with “depth”, but this sheer presence of a person, without choreographie, without sound, without story, almost without purpose, was… mind-blowing.
I had not seen that in any film before, not in any 3D film, that’s for sure, and not even in our own shots. How this medium was able to actually transcend (in the very sense of the word) the realm of cinema, of cinematic representation, and create (or imitate, I’m not sure) “presence”, human presence, in body and soul… that was shocking.
The most outrageous, though, was, or is: the present perception of 3D is going in the opposite direction. It is all taking place in the realm of fantasy, and the actors on the screen are more devoid of reality than any actor in any old black and white movie. Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in “Pirates of the Caribbean” for instance (I could pick many other examples) are not “there”… they do not exist, with all the gimmickry around them they are strange, human-like creatures, “body snatchers” like in that film by Phil Kaufman. And that goes for everything that comes packaged in the 3D envelope of the Major Studios. They have taken this language, this amazing new medium, and … kidnapped it, stolen it, mutilated it beyond recognition, so none of their audiences could possibly conceive of it as a tool to represent … reality. Human reality. Our planet. Our existence. Our concerns.
But: I am convinced that this is what 3D was invented for.
Three of Hollywood’s most respected directors–Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Steven Spielberg–are joining the ranks of Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders and Ridley Scott in directing features shot in 3D that go beyond the typical action/adventure/animated fare.
The Wall Street Journal has a thoughtful and though-provoking article here (by Michelle Kung) on the impact this new wave of films could have on the emerging 3D film genre.
“You now have some of the greatest filmmakers in the world stepping into the format to tell their stories,” says Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation chief executive and 3-D’s most indefatigable evangelist.