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3D Meets the Arthouse: Pina and Cave of Forgotten Dreams

A conversation between Philip Concannon and Niall Anderson

Philip Concannon: Over the coming months the cinema release schedules will be dominated by summer blockbusters, and most of these movies will be in 3D. After false starts in the 1950’s and the 1980’s, it appears that 3D is now here to stay, becoming an increasingly integral element of studio filmmaking, but perhaps the most interesting experiments in three dimensions are taking place outside the multiplex. By a fortunate coincidence, two new 3D features from respected German auteurs are hitting UK cinemas in the space of a month. In Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog utilises this newfangled technology to explore the primitive artwork buried deep within the Chauvet Cave in France, while  Wim Wenders’ Pina uses 3D to pay tribute to the late dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch. While most 3D films thus far have been the result of studio-imposed conditions, these films are passion projects from idiosyncratic directors, and both attempt to express the simple beauty of their chosen subject through three dimensions.

The question is, have they succeeded? Does Herzog’s camera bring the 30,000 year-old paintings to life, and does Wenders’ use of three dimensions capture Pina’s dancers at their best? Finally, what do these films say about the future of 3D as a viable filmmaking tool outside of the mainstream? In the following conversation, Niall Anderson and I will hopefully answer these questions as we examine and compare both Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Pina.

Niall, perhaps you’d like to begin by sharing your views on 3D in general, and as you saw both documentaries this week, who is your victor in this Teutonic 3D duel?

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