One Day Pina Asked… Screen 6 articles

One Day Pina Asked…

1983

One Day Pina Asked… Poster
  • Perhaps the most conventional work of the gifted Belgian experimental filmmaker Chantal Akerman, this documentary about the 1983 tour of Italy and France by German choreographer Pina Bausch is still personal and interesting.

  • Starting from the modest premise of documenting several months of Pina Bausch’s performances and rehearsals in the summer of 1983, the director Chantal Akerman realized one of the greatest of all syntheses of dance and cinema. She films the performers with a poised camera; her incisive angles and smooth pan shots emphasize the dances’ visual counterpoint and overlapping rhythms.

  • Denying its viewer the idealized vantage of Wenders’s sinuous tracking shots, Un jour reproduces the pull between meaning and its impasse that structures Bausch’s dances. Focused under Akerman’s lens, Bausch’s oeuvre resolves as a matter of the quotidian, pathologized, its order deranged not through an absence but an acceleration of some underlying logic: something, in other words, like the readymade subject of an Akerman film.

  • 'I was overcome by an emotion I can't quite define — something to do with happiness," Chantal Akerman says during her sole, fleeting onscreen appearance in the sublime One Day Pina Asked . . ., the 1983 documentary she made on Pina Bausch and her dancers. The director is attempting to elucidate the feelings stirred by watching one of the works by the mighty, if blade-thin, choreographer; what Akerman can't express in words, she makes piercingly specific with her images.

  • While Wim Wenders’s 3-D Pina may be the crowd-pleasing, pumped-up version of Bausch’s dances, Akerman’s vision is far more intimate and emotive. True to both her and Bausch’s vision, One Day Pina Asked... is less an attempt at archival documentation than at expressing a feeling through movement and moment.

  • The dance footage in Pina Asked is astonishing, not only because of Bausch's choreography (a groundbreaking fusion of classical ballet, modern dance, and performance art) but because of the feeling and intelligence Akerman brings to it. Using lengthy takes and exacting compositions (two of her stylistic signatures), she encourages us to reflect on how the dancers' bodies give form to Bausch's ideas.

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