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The Five Obstructions

  • NR
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • With THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS, notoriously mischievous director Lars von Trier performs yet another cinematic experiment. This time around, the Danish prankster tries to outwit his mentor, director Jorgen Leth, forcing him to remake his classic 1967 short, "The Perfect Human," five different times, with a series of increasingly outlandish guidelines. His goal is to break down the abnormally stable Leth, teaching him a valuable life lesson in the process. In the first film, von Trier sends Leth to Cuba and sets his first seemingly insurmountable rule: make a film that consists of shots that are no longer than twelve frames at a time. Miraculously, Leth uses his forced limitations to create a beautiful work, which obviously irks von Trier. Next up, von Trier challenges Leth to return to Bombay--which he calls the "most wretched place on Earth"--in order to confront some demons from his past. Once again, the clever mentor rises to the challenge. Frustrated and sensing defeat, von Trier's next challenge is deceptively simple: Leth must remake his film with no limitations whatsoever. He travels to Brussels and succeeds once again. After a foray into animation, von Trier creates the final obstruction, a film in which von Trier admits defeat and pays tribute to his mentor. THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS is a thoughtful, entertaining meditation on the filmmaking process.
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  • Critic Reviews
    "[F]ascinating....It's specialty stuff, to be sure..."
    Premiere

    "[A] spellbinding mind teaser, the ultimate game for movie buffs."
    Rolling Stone

    "[A] suave, pseudo-scientific examination of human behavior."
    New York Times

    "It's a double, and eventually all-consuming game."
    Film Comment

    "THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS glories in art, life, and the faith that binds them."
    Entertainment Weekly

    "[A] complete original. This ingenious, almost indescribable film won't remind you of anything else because there's nothing else like it."
    Los Angeles Times

    "[T]he entire enterprise is infected with a spirit of mischievous play..."
    Chicago Sun-Times

    "It's a fascinating, beguiling, occasionally confounding, then suddenly emotive journey."
    Uncut

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