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Pina [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray 3D Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4 (2D); MVC (3D)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: PG
  • Running Time: 103 minutes
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray 3D + 1 x  Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 22, 2013
  • List Price: $49.95

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
HD: [Rating:4/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]*
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Pina Bausch was an envelope-pushing German choreographer who took the conventions of traditional ballet and extended them for our times.  Her nontraditional dance moves demonstrated some revolutionary concepts that exploited the flexibility and fluidity of the human body. Famed German film director Wim Wenders, known for a wide-ranging catalog of work from Wings of Desire to The Buena Vista Social Club, decided to make this documentary in 2008.  Although Bausch died during its filming, the work was completed thanks to the encouragement of her dance company. What results is an intense collection of excerpts from several of her best-known pieces:

–       The Rite of Spring : two groups, one men, the other women dance on a layer of peat

–       Café Muller:  two apparently blind women wander into a maze of chairs and tables

–       Kontakthof (courtyard of contact): groups of dancers of varying ages show off the generation gap

–       Vollmond (full moon): the dancers perform on a flooded stage with only some chairs and a rock as props.

Interlaced between the performances are personal recollections of Pina by her dancers who depict a charismatic individual capable of drawing out the unique performances from within them. We are also presented with brief vignettes of dancers in a park, on an escalator, an elevated train car, a natatorium, among other nontraditional venues. Of perhaps the greatest interest is footage of Bausch at work instructing and training her corps de ballet

Video Quality

HD: [Rating:4/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]*


Typical of a Wenders film, the cinematography is riveting with a busy camera that conveys the fluidity of dance even in the less than graceful movements that the dancers are asked to do. We are continually caught off guard by the camera’s sleight-of-hand such as the scene in the dance studio (Kontakthof) in which one dancer continues to morph into another. Details are excellent as is color balance.

The 3D, a native production done on Sony high definition cameras adds a fantastic sense of natural depth and spaciousness to the image. It does seem to have just a a slight bit more ghosting/crosstalk than some other, newer 3D productions I’ve seen of late, but this could of course be a combination of the source, my display and 3D glasses. Other than the latter, I have no quibbles with this fantastic 3D production; it really uses 3D as it was intended and may be one of the best live-action 3D productions in this sort of genre to date.

*The 3D portion of this review was assessed by our Editor-in-Chief Brandon DuHamel using is reference system.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]


The sound sources do vary from historic recordings to those of today. In all, there is an honesty and clarity that lets us hear everything that is there.  Most of the presentation is upfront with a very modest amount of ambience. The Dolby Digital version has the director’s commentary.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Besides getting two discs, Criterion Collection gives us the following:

  • The Making of “Pina” (available in 3D)
  • Deleted scenes with commentary by Wenders (available in 3D)
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Interview with Wenders
  • Trailer
  • A bonus booklet with a commentary by writer Siri Hustvedt, reprinted pieces by Wenders and Bausch, information on the dances in the film, and portraits of the dancers.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

I have never seen a Wim Wenders documentary that was not a fascinating study in humanity and Pina is no exception.  Not surprisingly, this film received numerous critical accolades following its release, including an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. As a clever touch and by way of homage to the recently deceased choreographer, there is a recurring interjection of a New Orleans Dixieland style funeral procession executed in various settings by some of Bausch’s dancers. Traditional ballet fans may find the choreography a bit too over the top for their taste as there is little in the dancing that resembles classical ballet.  But, to survive, art must move on, and this film gives the avant-garde style of its main subject its own validity. With excellent cinematography, tight editing, and occasional out of body performances of the dancers, this is one not to be missed.

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
Criterion Collection: Pina (2 Disc) - Widescreen Dts - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Pina [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B00B47M862[/amazon-product]

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BestBuy.com:
Criterion Collection: Pina (2 Disc) - Widescreen Dts - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Pina [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
HD: [Rating:4/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]*
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]


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