IMDb > The Five Obstructions (2003)
De fem benspænd
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The Five Obstructions (2003) More at IMDbPro »De fem benspænd (original title)

The Five Obstructions -- 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)


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Jørgen Leth (script) (2 segments)
Asger Leth (script) (2 segments)
View company contact information for The Five Obstructions on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 November 2003 (UK) See more »
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) Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Lars; Forever The Enigma See more (37 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
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

Jørgen Leth ... 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") (also archive footage)

Patrick Bauchau ... 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)

Anders Hove ... 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)
Stina Ekblad ... Woman with Money (from "Notater om kærligheden" 1989) (segment "The Perfect Human (archive footage)

Lars von Trier ... Himself / Obstructor (segment "The Conversations")
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bob Sabiston ... Himself (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon") (uncredited)

Directed by
Jørgen Leth (segment "The Perfect Human: Avedøre, Denmark") (uncredited) (segment "The Perfect Human: Bombay") (uncredited) (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels") (uncredited) (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon") (uncredited) (segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba") (uncredited)
Lars von Trier (segment "The Perfect Human: Avedøre, Denmark") (uncredited)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Sophie Destin  poem "La Femme" (segment "The Perfect Human: Brussels")
Asger Leth  script (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels") (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon)
Jørgen Leth  script (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels") (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Jørgen Leth  segment "The Perfect Human: Bombay" (uncredited)
Jørgen Leth  segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba" (uncredited)
Lars von Trier  idea (uncredited)
Lars von Trier  script (segment "The Perfect Human: Avedøre, Denmark")

Produced by
Marianne Christensen .... line producer
Carsten Holst .... producer
Peter Aalbæk Jensen .... executive producer
Nicole Mora .... co-executive producer
Gerald Morin .... co-executive producer
Marc-Henri Wajnberg .... co-executive producer
Marc-Henri Wajnberg .... delegate producer (segment "The Perfect Human: Bruelles Brussels") (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Vibeke Windeløv .... executive producer
Yeslam bin Laden .... co-executive producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Dan Holmberg (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Morten Højbjerg 
Camilla Skousen 
Makeup Department
Magdalena Coamano .... makeup artist (segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Juan Pacífico .... hair stylist (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Lisa Schonker .... makeup artist (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Production Management
Anne Katrine Andersen .... post-production manager
Amrit Gangar .... production manager (segment "The Perfect Human: Bombay")
Magdalena García .... production manager (segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Mette Høst Hansen .... post-production manager
Tom Heene .... production manager (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Pia Nielsen .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Asger Leth .... first assistant director
Asger Leth .... second unit director
Art Department
Michel Vinck .... props researcher: Amalgames (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Sound Department
Martin Saabye Andersen .... sound engineer (segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Morten Bøttzauw .... sound engineer (segments "The Conversations")
Jens de Place Bjørn .... sound engineer (segment "The Conversations")
Paul Heymans .... sound engineer (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels") (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Jan Juhler .... sound engineer (segment "The Perfect Human: Bombay")
Tom Koester .... sound engineer (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Kasper Munck-Hansen .... sound engineer (segment "The Conversations") (as Kasper Munck Hansen)
Hans Møller .... sound design: Mainstream ApS
Camera and Electrical Department
Jakob Bonfils .... photographer: third unit (segments "The Conversations")
Manuel Dacosse .... assistant to director of photography (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Kim Hattesen .... photographer: third unit (segments "The Conversations")
Asger Leth .... photographer: second unit
Adam Philp .... assistant director of photography
Adam Philp .... second director of photography (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
François Zeegers .... gaffer (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Animation Department
Randy Cole .... animator (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Jennifer Deutrom .... animator (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon") (as Jennifer Drummond)
Holly Fisher .... animator (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Mike Layne .... animator (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon") (as Michael Layne)
Asger Leth .... cartoon consultant (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Katy O'Connor .... animator (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Bob Sabiston .... animation director (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Bob Sabiston .... animator (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Susan Sabiston .... animator (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Patrick Thornton .... animator (segment "The Perfect Human: Cartoon")
Casting Department
Marianne Christensen .... casting (segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Magdalena García .... casting (segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Elisabeth Houtart .... stylist: Amalgames (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels") (as Elisabeth Houtard)
Editorial Department
Marlene Billie Andreasen .... on-line editor: post-production
Thomas Caspersen .... digital film recordist: post-production
Lars Dela .... technical consultant: post-production
Daniel Dencik .... pilot editor: (segment "The Conversations" ) (as Daniel A. Denick)
Christine Ekstrand .... post-production assistant
Simon Kristiansen .... avid assistant: post-production
Simon Kristiansen .... on-line editor: post-production
Lasse Martinussen .... avid assistant: post-production
Fabien Pascal .... color timer: post-production, Eclair Laboratories
Thomas Therchilsen .... digital color grader: post-production
Anne Katrine Andersen .... post-production producer (uncredited)
Michael Frank Nielsen .... film color timer (uncredited)
Location Management
Delphine Coterel .... location manager (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Music Department
Kristian Leth .... composer: additional music
Mikkel Maltha .... music consultant: Zentropa Music ApS
Anders Valbro .... music consultant: Zentropa Music ApS
Transportation Department
José Luis Figueroa .... production driver (segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Other crew
Suhas Bhiwandkar .... production coordinator (segment "The Perfect Human: Bombay")
Signe Birket-Smith .... assistant: producer
Majken Bramstrup .... production assistant: Zentropa Real
Floyd E. Casper .... production coordinator (segment "The Perfect Human: Bombay")
Rasmus Christoffersen .... production assistant: Zentropa Real
Isabelle Corlier .... production assistant: Wajnbrosse (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunlles Brussels")
Michel Detry .... accountant: Bureau Detry
Veronique Durand .... film laboratory: Eclair Laboratoires, France
Sonja Egemar .... accountant
Füsun Eriksen .... public relations: Trust Film Sales ApS
Marie-Aude Goddard .... production assistant (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Javier Gonzales .... production coordinator (segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Jesper Grüner .... production assistant: Zentropa Real
Jens Georg Hansen .... insurance: Marsh A/S (as Jens-Georg Hansen)
Olivier Heger .... production insurance (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Anders Jacobsen .... assistant: line producer (segment "The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Anders Kjærhauge .... production lawyer: Zentropa Administration ApS
Ann Køj .... accountant
Stefan Maenen .... runner (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Melanie Munt .... body double (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Mairead O'Leary .... production assistant: Wajnbrosse (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Nina Munch Petersen .... personal assistant: Carsten Holst
Cecile Piot .... film laboratory: Eclair Laboratoires, France
Deepak Rao .... production coordinator (segment "The Perfect Human: Bombay")
Jordan Savel .... production assistant: Zentropa Real (as Jordan E. Savel)
Thomas Schindel .... personal assistant: Lars von Trier
Manka Sierakowski .... production assistant: Wajnbrosse (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Johanne Stainer .... production coordinator (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Rogier Van Eck .... production assistant: Wajnbrosse (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels") (as Roger Van Eck)
Ann Vognsen .... accountant

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"De fem benspænd" - Denmark (original title)
See more »
90 min
Black and White (archive footage) | Color
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Hungary:14 | Norway:A | Singapore:NC-16 | Spain:13 | Switzerland:10 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:10 (canton of Vaud) | Switzerland:16 (canton of Zurich) | UK:15 | USA:Unrated

Did You Know?

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 »
Movie Connections:
References Claire's Knee (1970)See more »


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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Lars; Forever The Enigma, 2 November 2006
Author: VideoKidVsTheVoid from Springdale, Arkansas

Lars Von Trier instigated this endlessly fascinating cinema experiment with fellow Danish filmmaker, and mentor/hero; Jorgen Leth. Trier challenged Leth to remake his 1967 short film "The Perfect Human" five different times, each time with a different set of obstructions or conditions. The obstructions range from technical to philosophical, and are sometimes plucked out at random by Trier in direct response to Leth's actions or words, during their many whimsical, very funny, nebulous exchanges. The most diabolical condition Trier concocts is of coarse that Leth has no conditions, which places all the potential blame, guilt, pressure, and creative insecurity totally back on Leth himself. Nothing though seems to get the better of Leth, and Trier appears to be frustrated and bemused every time Leth brings back a good film, of which we get to see the process and clips of the end creation. Trier states he wants to "banalize," Leth and each time hopes Leth will fail and return with a bad film, but Leth never does. Each reworking of The Perfect Human (1967) is an interesting and often poetic creation (at least the snippets that we get to see). One version is even animated by Bob Sabiston; the guy responsible for the great rotoscopish, brightly colored animation process and design in Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2005). It's hard to decipher Trier's true nature; at times he seems playful and at others, deadly serious. His intentions are (deliberately?) obscure. Is it all just a friendly game of chess or full on metaphysical warfare? This uncertainty and the sheer novelty of seeing Lars Von Trier and Jorgen Leth toy with each other on screen makes for a great shifty-eyed, quasi-exploratory, neo-deadpan, pseudo-straight-laced, doc-o-comedy, mock-drama.

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