7.5/10
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De fem benspænd (2003)

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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:

Jørgen Leth (uncredited), Lars von Trier (uncredited)

Writers:

Sophie Destin (poem), Asger Leth (script) | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Claus Nissen Claus Nissen ... The Perfect Man - from 'Det perfekte menneske' 1967 (archive footage)
Majken Algren Nielsen Majken Algren Nielsen ... The Perfect Woman, from 'Det perfekte menneske' 1967) (archive footage) (as Maiken Algren)
Daniel Hernandez Rodriguez Daniel Hernandez Rodriguez ... The Perfect Man (segment "Obstruction #1 - The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Jacqueline Arenal Jacqueline Arenal ... The Perfect Woman (segment "Obstruction #1 - The Perfect Human: Cuba")
Vivian Rosa 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")
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 Marie Dejaer ... Maid (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Pascal Perez Pascal Perez ... Couple (Man) (segment "The Perfect Human: Brunelles Brussels")
Meschell Perez Meschell Perez ... Couple (Woman) (segment "The Perfect Human: BrunellesBrussels")
Bent Christensen 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 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)
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Storyline

"The Five Obstructions", a 100 min. Dano-Belgian 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

Taglines:

Acclaimed director Lars Von Trier challenges his creative mentor to a diabolical game: Deconstruct cinema, reinvent cinema. Push the limits through torturous obstructions.

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

Danish | English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

21 November 2003 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

As Cinco Obstruções See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,040, 28 May 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$92,221, 4 July 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song played during The Perfect Human: Havana is "Planting the Seed" by David Holmes, which was also used in Ocean's 11 and appears on that movie's soundtrack. See more »

Connections

Features Det perfekte menneske (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Sounds fascinating but is mostly a pompous affair with an attitude of distain for the uninitiated audience
3 January 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

As a way of looking at the creative process, director Lars von Trier turns to one of his favourite short films, 1967's Det Perfekte Menneske, and challenges the director to revisit this work and remake it in completely different ways following a set of rules that they will agree for each one. With rules affecting location, editing, focus of the film, the actors involved, the script and the style in which it is made. All the time Trier pushes Jorgen Leth outside of his normal patterns to try and find what happens.

On paper this sounds fascinating and has a concept that made me really intrigued by the whole affair. However in reality it is a rather aimless and pompous affair that delivers very little and requires the audience to do a great deal of work; and believe me, I wanted this film to be good almost so that it would make me appear smarter and cooler to be one of the comparative few who have seen it. The film falls at the first hurdle by not actually allowing us to see the 1967 version of The Perfect Human in full – thus requiring us to either try and work without it or to piece it together from the clips. Without this foundation it is hard to feel for the vision within that film that Trier then tries to change and hard to fully appreciate the challenges laid down to Leth. Although it is easy to accept that it would be hard to remake your own work in different ways, the rules imposed are so pretentious and pompous that they don't really affect the film in the way that it would have were it the exact same script remade by 5 different people; only the "animation" challenge really threatened to change the nature of the film (although they all actually did in some way). The reasons for the obstructions are never totally clear and I couldn't be sure what the actual aims of the project were (other than some vague muttering from Trier).

For this reason the film failed to totally engage me in the way the concept had – I had no idea if it was failing or succeeding as it went. This is not to say it is without interest, because it isn't. Rather it is interesting to watch Leth make the film using his guidelines but one does have to wonder why the film didn't delve deeper into his creative process; most of the time the first we really see of his decisions is after he has made them – thus making us as clueless about the process as if we'd just been given the five versions to watch. Happily Leth is interesting to watch and is a down to earth sort of person; he almost makes up for the presence of Trier (who I had never seen before). I thought his Dogville was the best film of 2004 but here he just comes across as pompous and full of admiration for himself – he claims to admire Leth but there is nothing here to suggest that other than his words.

Overall this is an interesting film but nowhere near as good as it sounded. The film does nothing to help the audience get into it and it is as arty and difficult as some of the films themselves – hell, it even expects us all to have seen the original film ourselves! The different versions of the short film are interesting enough and the process is interesting but is structured badly for a film and never really engaged me. With these failings it was no wonder that I soon found it hard work to really care about and get into. An interesting idea and a partial success but at no point expect it to be that good or that interesting – the film itself seems to have a distain for an audience that can't "get it" and I personally find that attitude a real turn off.


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