The electrifying opening sequence of Pedro Almodovar’s film, Talk to Her, was an excerpt from “Cafe Muller’, a Pina Bausch dance piece – Bausch is the bare-shouldered dancer in this clip. The effect of the work is hard to explain, but easy to register its shock and exhilaration. Almodovar’s film exposed a whole new audience to her work. Including me – it revivified my interest and feeling about the medium, which (like the dancer in Talk to Her) had fallen comatose – it was anesthetized in ’88 by Graeme Murphy’s Vast, a work characterised by the Australian Bicentennial’s tendency towards the comprehensively banal.
The other Bausch piece featured in the film was the equally extraordinary Masurca Fogo. More from Cafe Muller – the famous chair scattering scene; the falling woman; and Bausch speaking. The Guardian has a nice slideshow about Bausch. Regrettably, the range of her work is hard to find on DVD, so, snuggle up once more with Almodovar.