Wenders' film "Pina" had its premiere at the Berlin film festival on Sunday. It was originally planned as a joint project with Bausch but Wenders decided to press ahead after her death in 2009.
Bausch was an innovative creator of striking, absurdist scenes.
When he saw her work, "I realized I might know enough about movies and movement, but I never, ever was able was able to decipher movement and create movement in the way that Pina had done it," Wenders said.
"It was like I was and all of us filmmakers, we were ... beginners in the art of seeing," he added.
Wenders originally planned for Bausch herself to be the focus of the film, which would have been made in part on tour. The homage he made instead focuses on her dance company.
"We all did it together for Pina," he told reporters. He originally planned to call off the project after she died, "but then it dawned on us that it was important for us to do it anyway."
"It was a work of mourning, even though it wasn't sad work," he said of making the movie.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel donned 3D glasses for the premiere, which also was attended by President Christian Wulff. "Pina" is screening out of competition.