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2,073 Ratings

The Five Obstructions

De fem benspænd

Denmark, Switzerland, 2003
Documentary, Avant-Garde
  • Danish
  • English


An investigative journey into the phenomenon of filmmaking in which filmmaker Jørgen Leth remakes, not once but five times, his own 1968 short film The Perfect Human, each time within a series of guidelines and limitations imposed upon him by director Lars von Trier.

Our take

Lars von Trier, will you ever stop provoking people? Here’s a movie that’s about his provocations: the Nymphomaniac director challenges his hero, the great Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth, to remake his own movie under von Trier’s maniacal guidelines. Can he do it? Or will both filmmakers go insane?

The Five Obstructions Directed by Jørgen Leth, Lars von Trier

Critics reviews

The movie itself is simple yet novel – and paradoxically involving for what is, essentially, an exercise in conceptual art.
April 01, 2014
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This divertissement is probably more fun if you haven’t seen many experimental films — if, for instance, you haven’t already seen a film cut as rapidly as 12 frames per shot. And if you’re titillated by the idea of feasting in front of hungry nonwhite people. In short, it’s amusing only if you agree not to think very much about it.
September 10, 2004
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In the film’s final sequence and ultimate obstruction, the opposite roles the two melancholy Danes have played throughout… collapse into one as von Trier attempts a last gambit to skewer Leth’s cautious nature and ends up exposing his own vulnerability instead. “Look how he falls. This is how he falls,” the narration from The Perfect Humanintones, but just who is falling, has fallen, is the riddle with which this suddenly sad, inexplicably moving film leaves us.
March 01, 2004
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