More final words
from The Perfect Human
December 10th, 2008
Lars von Trier's favourite film is Jørgen Leth's The Perfect Human (1967), it ends with the words "Today, too, I experienced something I hope to understand in a few days".
Von Trier gave Leth the task of remaking this short film five times, each time with a different obstruction given by Von Trier. By now I don't remember how many times I have seen the superior documentary The Five Obstructions which resulted from this provocation. It is an all time favourite of mine because every time I watch it new insights emerge - on fandom, failure, freedom, depression, competition, role models, rules, expectation, challenge, subjectivity, vodka before noon, and so much more.
Via Wikipedia: "The obstructions:
1. Leth must remake the film in Cuba, with no set, and with no shot lasting longer than twelve frames, and he must answer the questions posed in the original film; Leth successfully completes this task.
2. Leth must remake the film in the worst place in the world but not show that place onscreen; additionally, Leth must himself play the role of "the man." The meal must be included, but the woman is not to be included. Leth remakes the film in the red light district of Mumbai, only partially hiding it behind a translucent screen.
3. Because Leth failed to complete the second task perfectly, von Trier punishes him, telling him to either remake the film in any way he chooses, or else to repeat it again with the second obstruction in Mumbai. Leth chooses the first option and remakes the film in Brussels, using split-screen effects.
4. Leth must remake the film as a cartoon. He does so with the aid of Bob Sabiston, a specialist in rotoscoping, who creates animated versions of shots from the previous films. As such the final product is technically an animation but not a cartoon. Nevertheless, von Trier considers the task to be completed successfully.
5. The fifth obstruction is that von Trier has already made the fifth version, but it must be credited as Leth's, and Leth must read a voice-over narration, ostensibly from his own perspective but in fact one written by von Trier."