I would never associate German director Wim Wenders with 3D. His beautiful film Wings of Desire is deeply emotional visual poetry -- not the words I'd use to describe a 3D film I've seen by any stretch of the imagination. Those in Italy for the 67th Venice Film Festival can hop a train to Lausanne, Switzerland to take in Wenders' 3D film installation, If Buildings Could Talk . The director has combined cutting edge technology, the futuristic design of the Rolex Learning Center, and a lyrical narrative to explore how buildings communicate with their inhabitants.
The installation is part of this year's Venice Architecture Biennale (which runs until November 21), and examines the theme "People Meet in Architecture". Wenders worked in conjunction with Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa -- founders of the Japanese architectural firm SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates) who built the Rolex building at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Images in the film depict life in the Learning Center -- people reading in the library, cafe lunches, and other daily activities. A sweeping soundtrack and haunting yet beautiful female monologue accompany the imagery: "Can you hear me? Places have voices. Buildings can talk, as you can hear. No, not all of them. But some need to. Some have chosen to remain silent."
Leave it to Wenders to turn the oft hated 3D format into a rapturous meditation on the spirit of buildings and their narrative capacity. "Buildings, like people, are subject to time and exist in a three dimensional world. That's why our film is in 3D," the director explained further on his website. "It's an invitation to wander around, to experience and to listen, for once."
Wenders has been working on another 3D project, Pina -- an homage to the late German choreographer Pina Bausch who passed away last year. The film is currently listed in post-production and should be screening for audiences sometime this year. Even though I'm not a fan of 3D film, I can appreciate that Wenders is using the technology as a tool to emphasize or enhance an active, and corporeally communicative experience, versus relying on the medium as a vehicle for the entire film.