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04 August 2009

The Five Obstructions

directed by Lars Von Trier

Lars Von Trier. What can be said of Von Trier that hasn’t already been said? Clearly, if you have watched any of his dramatic films, you get the sense that Lars doesn’t have a lot of faith in humanity. But I will not get into a Freudian analysis of Von Trier films and how they represent various aspects and complexes of his psyche. I will, however, say that Von Trier’s insanely entertaining doc about the essence of filmmaking is an absolute must see for cinephiles out there. The premise: Lars wants his friend and idol Jorgen Leth to remake his 1967 short film, The Perfect Human, five times. But each time, he has to follow a set of obstructions created by Von Trier, obstructions designed to handicap and ultimately (Lars hopes) break Leth. The goal here for Von Trier is to get Leth to learn about himself by trying to get him to make a crappy film which, much to Von Trier’s dismay, he doesn’t. Or, if we want to simplify it: Crazed auteur filmmaker wants to take his idol down a peg or two by sabotaging his efforts to revisit his landmark short film. It’s just so cute when Lars Von Trier tries to be nice.

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