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The Five Obstructions (2003)
"De fem benspænd" (original title)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 5,598 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 35 user | 81 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

About a filmmaker not only revisiting, but also recreating (not in a conventional sense) one of his first films, The Perfect Human / Det perfekte menneske (1967)

Directors:

(uncredited) , (uncredited)

Writers:

(poem), (script), 7 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Claus Nissen ...
The Perfect Man - from 'Det perfekte menneske' 1967 (archive footage)
Majken Algren Nielsen ...
The Perfect Woman, from 'Det perfekte menneske' 1967) (archive footage) (as Maiken Algren)
Daniel Hernandez Rodriguez ...
The Perfect Man (segment "Obstruction #1 - The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Jacqueline Arenal ...
The Perfect Woman (segment "Obstruction #1 - The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Vivian Rosa
...
Voice-over (from "Det perfekte menneske" 1967) / Himself - Director (segments "The Conversations") / Voice-over (segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba," segment "The Perfect Human: Bombay," segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon") / Himself -The Perfect Man - Voice-over (segment "The Perfect Human: Avedøre, Denmark")
...
The Perfect Man / Voice-over (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels") / Speaker (segment "Obstruction #4 - The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Alexandra Vandernoot ...
The Perfect Woman (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Marie Dejaer ...
Maid (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Pascal Perez ...
Couple (Man) (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Meschell Perez ...
Couple (Woman) (segment "The Perfect Human: BrunellesBrussels")
Bent Christensen ...
Gangster (from "Det gode og det onde" 1975) (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon" (archive footage)
...
Naked Man (from "Notater om kærligheden" 1989) ( fsegment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon" (archive footage)
Charlotte Sieling ...
Naked Woman (from "Notater om kærligheden" 1989) ( segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon" (archive footage)
Jan Nowicki ...
Man with Jacket (from "Notater om kærligheden" 1989) ( segment "Obstruction #4 - The Perfect Human (archive footage)
Edit

Storyline

"The Five Obstructions", a 100 min. theatre documentary directed by Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth. An investigative journey into the phenomenon of "documentary", based on manifestos written by each director. About a filmmaker not only revisiting, but also recreating (not in a conventional sense) one of his first films, The Perfect Human / Det perfekte menneske (1967), a document on life in Denmark, containing the familiar Leth idiosyncrasies Written by jordan.savel@filmbyen.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

21 November 2003 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

As Cinco Obstruções  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,040 (USA) (28 May 2004)

Gross:

$92,221 (USA) (2 July 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During one of the conversation segments in the documentary Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth agree that Leth will receive full credit for the fifth and final Obstruction entitled "The Perfect Human: Avedøre, Denmark" despite not directing it, and that Trier will receive none, although he will direct it. This, apparently, is within the rules of the game played out by the two directors during the documentary, and serves as an inside joke. See more »

Connections

Features The Perfect Human (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

Von Trier's obstructions on film-making
24 October 2006 | by (The Dutch Mountains) – See all my reviews

THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS (Lars von Trier - Belgium/Denmark/France/Switserland 2003).

Lars von Trier is not known for trying to please his audiences, but this one is different... Probably, it wasn't his intention while making this film either, but with THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS he has come up with something surprisingly entertaining. In this documentary-like film he challenges one of his favorite filmmakers (and his old film school professor) Jorgen Leth to produce a remake of his 1967 short film "The Perfect Human", each to be directed by Leth according to von Trier's diktat, or his 'Five Obstructions'. The result is an interesting documentary about Leth's efforts and the limitations each artist has to impose on himself to create art or - in this case - film.

The first obstruction is that Jorgen Leth should make a movie where no edit can last more than 12 frames (about half a second) and it must be shot on Cuba. Leth states it's impossible and can't be done, but he tries anyway and succeeds in making a wonderful film and von Trier is delighted with the results. Now he must make a film in the worst place on earth where he is "the perfect human." Leth is put to the test even more and decides to shoot in a red-light district in Bombay where he stages a sumptuous and decadent dinner table on the street, where he dines in smoking, while hordes of impoverished locals are watching him eat.

The quality of the remakes may vary, but the film really comes to live when the two men meet. After the Bombay experiment Von Trier downtalks him, claiming he didn't stick to his obstructions, but Leth remains polite and buoyant during some of the brilliant verbal sparring matches about the endless limitations and possibilities of the medium. Despite Leth's difficulties in coping with the obstructions von Trier imposed on him, his most difficult assignment is when he is given complete freedom to make whatever he wants. It turned out to be the ultimate punishment von Trier could give him.

Camera Obscura --- 8/10


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