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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 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
The film has two points of interest: the discussions between the two men as to what might constitute the limitations (the obstructions) - as good a way as any of discussing the content of the elusive original - and the behaviour of both men in the pursuit & rendition of the exercise.
As a document that presents the perversity of the 'boardroom' pragmatism of film-making and its melodramatic content this is quite hard to beat. The five versions are satisfyingly varied, although we are not shown any in full as far as I can make out. Their relative value is of little importance; von Trier's final 'twist' obstruction doesn't really come off in fact although it may be seen to be the most likely to succeed. In this way we are also shown something of the pot luck of producing a good film.
Above all though I came away trying to contain an imagination fomented on either side, both by the possibilities of the content of all six films (again, some more than others) and also by the auteur role; the possibilities and responsibilities faced when pointing a camera. And I'd always rather leave the theatre blinded with a brain bloated than a brain dead. 8/10
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