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The Berlinale Blog: 3D day

Today is 3D day at the Berlinale. So cross-eyed headaches all-round then.

How did he cope with his facial furniture in Yogi Bear 3D? Photo by Hpschaefer

Today was the first 3D day ever at the Berlinale, with the premieres of Wim Wenders’ Pina, and French fairytale animation Les Contes de la Nuit. Barely a year since Avatar, and now the arthouse crowd has appropriated the new technology with vigour. This is slightly odd, since 3D cinema is nothing but trouble for glasses-wearers – especially poncy art-type glasses. You have to fit the second pair over your first, and end up balancing them awkwardly on the end of your nose – barring you from looking down – and generally look a plonker. How does Wim Wenders, famous for his outlandish facial furniture, cope?

The other problem is 3D cinema is still not really 3D, most of the time you feel like you’re peering at a set of flat shapes at different distances – like a stage set in an old theatre. But both films take this limitation as part of the art, which makes them so successful. Les Contes de la Nuit rather beautifully uses the technology to give us an old-fashioned shadow-play – drawing all its characters and scenarios in silhouette. Pina, meanwhile, puts us into a real theatre to watch a series of the legendary choreographer’s celebrated works. These are interspersed with interviews with her awestruck dancers, who impute almost supernatural powers to their departed mentor. Wenders also gives us a few cinematic flourishes by filming individual dances out in the unassuming environs of Wuppertal. Both films are a treat.