Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #67 The Five Obstructions

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2010 at 12:08 AM

Movie #67 The Five Obstructions

(2003, Denmark, d. Lars von Trier, Jørgen Leth)

If you consider yourself an artist, watch this documentary. Lars von Trier, an acclaimed filmmaker and pioneer of the Dogme ’95 Movement, sets up a challenge for a fellow friend, mentor, and filmmaker Jørgen Leth. The challenge consists of 5 “obstructions”, wherein Leth must remake his 1967 short film The Perfect Human five times according to the obstacles within each obstruction. For example, the fourth obstruction is that he must make the film into a cartoon, etc.. While very interesting to observe what Leth does to work around or with these specifications, the film is actually more educational for filmmakers and artists, alike. The film suggests that it is these obstructions that actually promote our creativity and our grasp of meaning within a piece of work. The more von Trier imposes upon Leth, the better the film gets. On the contrary, when von Trier “punishes” Leth by telling him to make a movie without rules, Leth feels abandoned and in need of direction (although the film he turns out is still quite good). Don’t think I summarized the whole movie here though. The audience is allowed to watch the films Leth makes and finding meaning within those as well is part of the film, too.

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