The Five Obstructions  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Five Obstructions (Danish: De Fem benspænd) is a 2003 film by Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth. The film is a documentary, but incorporates lengthy sections of experimental films produced by the filmmakers. The premise is that Lars Von Trier has created a challenge for his friend and mentor, Jørgen Leth, another filmmaker. Von Trier's favourite film is Leth's The Perfect Human (1967). Von Trier gives Leth the task of remaking The Perfect Human five times, each time with a different 'obstruction' (or obstacle) given by Von Trier.

The obstructions

  1. Leth must remake the film in Cuba (but with no set) with no shot longer than 12 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 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 Bombay, only partially hiding it behind a translucent screen.
  3. Because Leth failed to complete task 2 perfectly, Von Trier punishes him by making him remake the film in any way he chooses. Leth remakes it in Brussels using split-screen effects.
  4. Leth must remake the film as an animation. He does so with the aid of Bob Sabiston, a specialist in rotoscoping, who creates animated versions of shots from the previous films.
  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 voiceover narration ostensibly from his own perspective but in fact written by Von Trier.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Five Obstructions" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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