Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier sets Jørgen Leth, the director of a 1967 short he likes entitled The Perfect Human the task of re-making the film in five different ways according to ‘obstructions’ put to him by Trier. The first version may have no shots longer than 12 frames in length, provide answers to the questions put in the 1967 version of the film, be filmed in Cuba and use no sets. The second version must be filmed in “a miserable place”, must not show this place, have Leth himself playing ‘the man’ and must reproduce the meal sequence from the original 1967 film. The third version presents Leth with a choice: either return to Bombay to remake the previous version (with which Trier was displeased) otherwise Leth must exercise ‘complete freedom’ in the making of a new version. Version four must be a cartoon and version five will be made by Trier (not Leth) but Leth must be credited as the director and the film must be accompanied a text written by Lars von Trier and read by Leth. –BFI
Jørgen Leth is a Danish poet and film director who is considered a leading figure in experimental documentary film making. Most notable are his epic documentary A Sunday in Hell (1977) and his surrealistic short film The Perfect Human (1967). He is also a sports commentator for Danish television and is represented by the film production company, Sunset Productions.
Jørgen Leth was born on June 14, 1937 in Århus, Denmark. He studied literature and anthropology in Aarhus and Copenhagen and was a cultural critic (jazz, theatre, film) for leading Danish newspapers from 1959 to 1968. His interest in Polish anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski had a profound influence on his work. He travelled in Africa (1961), South America and India (1966) and Southeast Asia (1970–71). His first book was published in 1962 and he has written 10 volumes of poetry and eight non-fiction books. He made his first film in 1963 and has since made 40 more, many distributed worldwide. His… read more
With a back-story (almost) as singular as his films, Danish director Lars von Trier was one of the most exceptional filmmakers to burst onto the international film scene in the 1990s. Unapologetically confident in his artistry and an unabashed provocateur, von Trier could kick up a fuss about his behavior, but his stylistic brio, extreme narratives, and ability with actors prevented such films as Zentropa (1991), The Kingdom (1994), Breaking the Waves (1996), and Dancer in the Dark (2000) from being eclipsed by their creator. Even as he openly sought a larger audience by making films in English, von Trier’s success helped resurrect Scandinavian cinema’s international prominence; his intense fear of flying ensured he’d never “go Hollywood.”
Raised by his radical, nudist Communist parents in an unconventional environment where, as von Trier once put it, everything was permitted except “feelings, religion and enjoyment,” von Trier blossomed into a neurotic, left-wing, movie-loving… read more
Mindblowing! I honestly did not know much about this before watching, and my expectations were a blank. But this is brilliant on so many levels. Technical superb, delicious editing, and intriguing as a human portrayal of two brilliant minds. I am in awe. Just one of the finest works of art that I have seen.
It was a privilege to be able to watch two great filmic minds bounce ideas off each other in this manner. I was very impressed with Jørgen Leth and the way he carries himself. Von Trier is a wonderful character in himself, such brilliance; yet, such indulgence -- I love it. I am now intrigued to watch the full version of The Perfect Human, seems to be quite a groundbreaking film for the time period.