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The Five Obstructions Review

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In a reaction to a challenge by Lars Von Trier, Leth remakes his short film The Perfect Human, five times each time in accordance with different strict constraints.

★★★★★

In 1967, Jørgen Leth made The Perfect Human, a freeform short that fascinated Danish director Lars von Trier as a student. Some 36 years later, von Trier approached his mentor with a challenge: Leth must remake the same film five times, each time in accordance with a series of strict constraints. The results form the basis of this documentary, and what begins as a battle of wits transforms into a provocative and brilliant study of filmmaking. Von Trier's initial terms are playful (each take can only last 12.5 frames being particularly inspired), but Leth rises to each occasion. With the final 'obstruction', however, von Trier turns the tables and wrests the film from Leth's grasp - but in a move that pays tribute to an old friend. Witty, funny and moving, this film shows von Trier's genius in a warm and flattering light.

Witty, funny and moving, this film shows von Trier's genius in a warm and flattering light.

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