Monday, March 12, 2012

Family Adventures: Pina

Image via Wikipedia

Every week, I pick up a copy of Seven Days, Burlington's weekly newspaper to plot out potential weekend adventures. This week, the film Pina caught my eye. A documentary about dance seemed promising given Our Girl's enthusiasm for ballet so I suggested we head to the Roxy, our local art theater, for a Saturday screening. Despite the fact that this was my idea, I had two misgivings about the movie. The first was the subtitles. Pina is a German film but also includes interviews in French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese and probably other languages I didn't recognize. The review, though, suggested that the dancing is precedent with the interviews voiced over the dance sequence. Our Girl has sat through subtitled movies with us before. While she's a solid reader, we do occasionally have to read some of them aloud to her - won't fly in a movie theater.

My second concern was the PG rating for "some sensuality/partial nudity and smoking." Hmm. Our Girl is 8. Not sure. Further research attributed the concerns to some see-through clothing and artistic nudity. Hmm.

My Wife and I talked it over and she said she wasn't too worried, about either the subtitles or the rating issues. I suppose this is what the rating system is meant to do - to inform families about film content so we can make thoughtful choices - and better that we watch it together and give her the chance to talk about anything that bothers her or us.

All of that aside, the film itself is very good - Germany's submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. It demonstrated a lot about what a documentary can be. The dance scenes were moved to different locations around the city of Wuppertal, including one particularly funny segment shot on a monorail car. There were a lot of interesting camera tricks, too. Special effects in a documentary? Is that kosher?

As for my concerns, the language was no big deal at all. Our Girl said she could read the subtitles just fine - silly me for worrying! As for the sensuality matter, it was definitely risque. I would never be able to show it in school, to be sure. But as for actual skin, I only caught one nip-slip.

("But you had to be looking for it," says I.
"Oh, and of course, YOU were looking for it," says My Wife.
"Yes," I respond, "but only because I was worried!")

Regardless, Our Girl seemed undisturbed and claimed she really enjoyed the movie. I feel a bit more justified in worrying about this one but I think we were right to take the chance. If she brings it up in therapy years from now, we may have to answer for it.

Overall, I'd give Pina three stars out of five. It's a great film and certainly a strong three but I don't feel a need to ever watch it again - my criterion for a four. The dancing can definitely tend toward the weird - I prefer ballet to modern, as does Our Girl - but it was undoubtedly technically solid. Particularly memorable was a dancer diving head first from a chair onto the stage before being caught by one of her male counterparts.

Broomball Update

Overall, last week was a very positive week. School budgets passed in both the town where we live and the one where I work. My re-licensing paperwork was approved. And, I scored my first broomball goal!

The ice rink was out of commission for the past two weekends - something wrong with the freezing apparatus or some such. So, we had a couple of unexpected bye weeks before Friday's game. My goal was set up by a pretty pass from our best player. We shall call him Slim - because he is. Slim had the ball just to the right of the goal, facing away from me, drawing the defense. I snuck in front of the goal and said his name, not yelling but just loud enough for him to hear. He passed it to me between his legs and I just had to knock it into the net - pretty slick, I must say. For me, it was mostly a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I was glad enough not to screw it up. Now that I have that monkey off my back, I'm going to work more on my passing.

Oh, we still lost: 4-3. Maybe next time.


  1. I've always thought that sensuality in movies bothered parents more than the actual kid. It's a movie about dancers after all. Sometimes when I go to a dance show, I'm actually amazed how often the dancers touch each other. If they were naked, it'd be pornographic.

    But anyway, the premise does sound interesting. Maybe I should find a way to see it sometime. I do love a good documentary.

  2. My biggest broomball self-recrimination from this game stems from the fact we had our first lead...and I could not hold on to it for you all. That was our best game, but no subs and way too fast for you guys...Slim commented today that you all were just spent...

  3. So not your fault, Mock! I know that sense of responsibility. I was a goalie once, too. It's really not all on you.

  4. Our daughter is eight, too, and we watched 'Sixteen Candles,' a few weeks ago. She won't stop saying, 'Hey, mom,' then she holds two imaginary cantaloupes in front of her chest and goes, 'BONG.'

    Thank you, John Hughes. I'd forgotten about the shower scene when I mentally vetted the film. At least your film choice is redemptive in an educational sort of way ...

    1. And yet, "Sixteen Candles" was a PG movie. The PG-13 rating wasn't launched until later that same year. No permanent damage done, I'm sure.

  5. Haa one nip slip..good thing you were vigilant. Don't want something like that to get by you.

    I'm a teacher too and we are still waiting to hear what magic they are working for this years budget. Found you through a little A to Z early creeping...looking forward to reading more and getting to know you. Not in a stalker know more of a devoted reader type. :0)

  6. Well, congratulations on the goal AND on the budgets passing. :) It's so hard to predict exactly what those ratings could lead to, and you're a good dad for taking the time to mull it over.

    And hey - I FINALLY answered my tag questions! Thanks for tagging me. :) Aw man, I just realized I forgot to tag anyone else. D'oh!