Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Five Obstructions|
Actors: Jacqueline Arenal, Patrick Bauchau, Bent Christensen, Marie Dejaer, Stina Ekblad
Director: Jørgen Leth
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
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) Studio: E1 Entertainment Release Date: 10/05/2004 Run time:... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
"Reality" television ... eat your heart out! (seriously!)
A. Gyurisin | Wet, Wild, Wonderful Virginia | 10/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After watching this film all I could think about was how I would love to take this premise and use it on some of America's finest directors. Money, power, and wealth. These are just some of the elements that you gain by having a blockbuster film, but can you take your pride and joy and transform it into different avenues while still keeping the overall tone the same? It is a tough question, one that I wonder if our American directors could accomplish. I wonder if Peter Jackson, Spielberg, or Lucas could take their prized collections and still have the creative mind to make the same film with some "obstructions"? My initial answer would be "no", but I wouldn't mind seeing them try.
This film was brilliant to say the least. I went into it without really knowing anything about Jorgen Leth, and finished wanting to see more of his work. I was impressed with his original film The Perfect Human and thought that his four remakes were nothing short of outstanding. Each one was perfect in its own right and yet somehow was able to continue the overall themes and elements. They were works of a genius. This leads me to another question I had while watching this film. Did Trier know that Leth could do this? Trier was once a student of Leth and considers him to be the best director our there, he must have known that Leth could accomplish such tasks. In fact, I think this may have been Trier's way of allowing a new generation to experience the brilliant mind of Leth. Trier pushed Leth to new levels, but I think in a way he knew that Leth would be able to overcome and provide some new and beautiful shots. Trier seemed like a very hard nosed person in this film, and that he constantly ordered, instead of asking his subject to do things. I think we witnessed Trier in his original form. Kidman has reported as saying that Trier is very difficult to work for and I think it is because of the way that Trier works. Very similar to Gilliam, Trier has the vision in his mind. He knows how he wants the scene to play out, and unless it works just as much as it did in his mind, he will not be happy. Why not? It is his film. Some actors and others in the business call it insanity, but I think it is the talent of a beautiful director. That is why I am a fan of both Trier and Gilliam, and now Leth.
While it is interesting to see these two directors work against and for each other, the ultimate enjoyment is the different renditions of The Perfect Human. Giving a director the tasks that Trier did may force some of the themes and elements of original short to be lost in the shuffle; Leth never allows that to happen. It is amazing to see the similarities, yet subtle differences between the original and the new. Each of them work and give such a intense new spin on the story. Within all of this we begin to see the themes leaving the work, and coming straight at these directors. Trier is trying to show that Leth is just as human and emotional as the subject in his film. In fact, Trier even shows that Leth is as human and emotional as himself. They way this is shown is very subtle, but it is there. We are working with two different filmmakers. One is young and a very prominent name in cinema, while the other is aging and as generations continues to gap, losing followers to his film. Trier wanted, and does, show that there is little difference between himself and Leth. They are both humans. They are both full of emotion.
My favorite scene was when Trier mentions to Leth that he wants Leth to feel like a "tortoise on his back". He wants Leth to experience hardship and struggle, perhaps even frustration, and therefore Trier gives him the cartoon obstruction. In a very mocking fashion, Leth happens to put a tortoise in the film. The ball is in your court, von Trier.
Overall, this is an amazing film. I am an enormous fan of short films, and to see little snippets of Leth's mind was exciting and revolutionary. I recommend this film to anyone that is fed up with the lack of creativity in the "reality" based television series and long for something more artistic. This film reminded me of walking through an art museum and seeing several works from Leth. It is a place I would never want to leave.
Grade: ***** out of *****"
Jim Winterbourne | Sarasota, FL | 02/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't write many "reviews" on Amazon -often because I see my own thoughts expressed in bits and pieces throughout the others, and I figure people will have their own instincts largely developed anyway.
On this subject I differ. I rented the movie & immediately wanted to find out if I could purchase it (& whether it was abnormally expensive, like some art films can be). In looking through the other reviews, I was glad to see strong appreciation...but startled to perceive that so many people seemed to miss the point of the film.
This movie is not ABOUT the abject experiment of recreating a short film under different circumstances (or "obstructions") by a great director. Yes, that's superficially what happens (and yes, as others have said, the original & remakes are profoundly masterful & captivating).
But the "heart" of this movie lies in the student reaching out a helpful hand to a depressed and reclusive director -who the student truly loves.
The student (now an accomplished director himself) creates this set of obstructions for his teacher in order to reinvigorate the old man -to bring him new challenges of life, intellect, and craft, and ultimatley to pay tribute to the mentor he so admires.
We, as the audience, get to watch this in documentary style. We also get to see the four film versions (and the original) that the master-teacher comes up with. But as the movie draws to an end, we see that the experiments of film-making were not the real point.
Indeed the fifth version of "The Perfect Human" is made as a tribute to the teacher by the student! It involves very telling film-narratives of the teacher in action. We see his humanity, his patience, his intensity -all as told by the student.
What's more -in this fascinating (and difficult to describe) conclusion, we hear the teacher reading a thank-you letter to the student...but in fact it is the student who has written the letter to himself from the point-of-view of the teacher.
This is as if to say "I know you -and I would hope you are thinking all these things."
I know that sounds complicated, but it makes sense in the film, and it's incredibly powerful how the student has grasped (so perfectly) the human nature of his gentle old teacher. The teacher speaks in the final film -as if to say "your experiment has failed" -and yet we who watch know that it was indeed a moving and fascinating success."
Incredible - A Must See!
M. Hencke | New York, NY United States | 11/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who is a fan of Lars Von Trier (Dancer In The Dark, Dogivlle) or experimental filmmaking in general has got to see this. Amazing documentary that made me wish we had people in the states having to do something like this...Pushing themselves to their artistic limits. Another reviewer on here mentioned how beneficial a project/task like this would be to some of our more financially sucessful directors (i.e. spielberg, lucas etc)this could not be closer to the truth. This is an incredible character study - so much more than a documentary. Why has Jorgen Leth not made more films?"
"It not enough to succeed. Your friends must also fail."
Neal Alexander | Cali, Colombia | 02/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A masterpiece, but who is the master? Von Trier the 'obstructor' or Leth, his friend and former teacher?
Don't be put off (as I was) by the structure, in which Leth is challenged to remake one of his 1960s experimental films, subject to a series of constraints imposed by von Trier. It sounds like a recipe for self-indulgent intellectual backslapping, and my expectations were low when the first 'obstruction' was a limit of 12 frames (half a second) on the length of each shot. But when, to von Trier's stifled dismay, Leth produces a beautifully rhythmical and sensual response, I realised I was watching something special. The sheer talent of the principals, driven by each's urge to prove themself equal to the other, makes this a fascinating exploration not just of creativity but also friendship."