The Five Obstructions
|The Five Obstructions|
|Directed by||Lars von Trier
|Produced by||Peter Aalbæk
|Written by||Lars von Trier
|Starring||Lars von Trier
Daniel H. Rodriguez
|Distributed by||Zentropa Real ApS, Wajnbrosse Production and Koch-Lorber Films|
|Language||Danish, English, French, Spanish|
The Five Obstructions (Danish: De fem benspænd) is a Danish film of 2003 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. Trier's favourite film is Leth's The Perfect Human (1967), and Trier gives Leth the task of remaking The Perfect Human five times, each time with a different 'obstruction' (or obstacle) imposed by Trier.
- Leth must remake the film in Cuba, with no set, and with no shot lasting longer than 12 frames, and he must answer the questions posed in the original film; Leth successfully completes this task.
- 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 Bombay, only partially hiding it behind a translucent screen.
- Because Leth failed to complete task 2 perfectly, Trier punishes him, telling him to either remake the film in any way he chooses, or else to repeat it again with obstruction 2 in Bombay. Leth chooses the first option and remakes the film in Brussels, using split-screen effects.
- 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, Trier considers the task to be completed successfully.
- The fifth obstruction is that 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 Trier.
Collaboration with Martin Scorsese
At the Berlinale 2010, Lars von Trier, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro announced plans to work on a remake of Scorsese's film Taxi Driver. The film will be made with same restrictions as were used in The Five Obstructions.
- The Five Obstructions (2003) | FILM REVIEW; A Cinematic Duel of Wits For Two Danish Directors
- Lars Von Trier, Robert De Niro, and Martin Scorsese Collaborating on New Taxi Driver "Lars Von Trier, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese collaborate on New Taxi Driver". dreadcentral.com. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
- Livingston, Paisley; Plantinga, Carl R.; Mette Hjort (3 December 2008). The Routledge companion to philosophy and film. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-77166-5. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- The Five Obstructions at the Internet Movie Database
- Movies You May Have Missed - Ep 18: The Five Obstructions
- The Five Obstructions at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Five Obstructions at AllMovie