Like Life in Denmark, Good and Evil, and Notes on Love, sensible anthropological study is apparently on the programme, and in Leth’s award-winning breakthrough it assumes an elegant, highly amusing form. Spanning a period of 22 years these films revolve skittishly around human nature, and apart from the more documentary Life in Denmark, each has actor Claus Nissen as Leth’s artful alter ego. Nissen and Maiken Algren are in an empty white room with only the essential props for each scene. A bed, bedding, a table, chairs. “We are going to see the perfect human being in action”, we hear, and Leth’s voice puts descriptive or puzzled words to the little actions the film exhibits: the man touches his face investigatively, fills a pipe, cuts his nails, and gets undressed, but he does peculiar things, too: he jumps as if he is weightless, snaps his fingers in strange ways, and dances with exaggerated movements and no music. “Today, too, I had an experience that I hope I shall understand in a few days’ time”, he ponders. The whole film is staged with great clarity in its picture compositions with several characteristic zooms to indicate the bodily parts of the perfect human being, and emphasis on the light, boundless nothingness of the room. The soundtrack reveals tones of a clarinet touching on the stylistically consistent visuals. At its premiere at the Carlton cinema The Perfect Human was shown before Jean-Luc Godard’s La Chinoise. —IMDb
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