Wim Wenders was deeply moved when he first saw one of choreographer Pina Bausch’s pieces, “Café Müller”, in 1985. A long friendship grew from this personal encounter, with the plan to realise a film together. Alas, execution of this plan was long hindered by the limits of his craft: Wenders felt there were no cinematic means to translate Pina Bausch’s unique art of movement, gestures, language and music to the screen. Cinema lacked what was needed to adequately capture dance theatre. It was only with the rise of the digital 3D process that a new medium for this undertaking was at his disposal.
But just as shooting was finally ready to begin in summer 2009, it was too late for Pina. She passed away unexpectedly and suddenly. Wenders cancelled the film, but later agreed with the dancers that although they’d no longer be able to make a film with Pina Bausch, they could most certainly make a film for Pina Bausch. Their shared grieving process became both a tribute and the leave-taking that everyone had been denied.
The film had its world premiere at the Berlinale in 2011. It became an international success and was nominated for an Oscar. (Wim Wenders Stiftung. A Foundation)