This seems to be novel. It is not. OULIPO did it many decades ago. Obstructions, restrictions, rules, or whatever you want to call any set of conditions, were applied by the OULIPO writers. The idea was to create under restrictions. The core is platonic, mathematic, formalistic. Take Perec, e.g., who wrote a novel in French without using "e". This film is rather a love letter in disguise, a tribute to the great Leth.
The normal obstructions that come with the job: the budget, the availability of actors, and time. Sometimes too much freedom can lead to indecision. I like the way the director reacted to the further obstructions. Getting Patrick Bauchau really helped both with his acting and his wonderful voice.
Went into this with a sense of obligation, expecting an overwrought Von Trier exercise. Ended up being drawn in and taken up by Leth's wry wit and reluctant enthusiasm for the challenges presented to him. The films he makes end up being quite intriguing and stand on their own and actually improve on his lauded (at least by Von Trier) original. Come for the oatmeal and stay for the cherries.
A pact between filmmakers Lars von Trier and Jorgen Leth allows von Trier to challenge Leth with a series of "obstructions" in recreating Leth's short experimental film "The Perfect Human." It is so enjoyable to watch Lars lay out these obstructions and then watch Jorgen figure out how to overcome them in his filmmaking. So cool. Watching how these extraordinary and odd minds work is another glorious fascination.
It is nice to see filmmakers in their element and the process of creating a film, making art with limitations vs no limitations; the challenge of creating separation. The relationship between von Trier and Jorgen Leth is pure and entertaining. The perspective both filmmakers determine what a film should be/include is both juxtaposing and in sync. Each obstruction is great to see.
This film reminds me when Dogma started, with its obstructions. This is the influence that engendered the movement. The film embraces Denmark’s emphasis on the human condition, in all of its foibles. I’m thinking of the recent North Korea Documentary with the fake disabled person, or the film where the protagonist feigns fits, or where a dinner party turns to the host’s admission of something horrid, or…
By its nature, a difficult film to rate. The actual short films Leth produced from the obstructions were great (I wish it was easier to see his features). But the connecting tissue with von Trier is unmemorable(except in how unlikable von Trier comes off as). So 4 stars/2 stars . . .
People unnerved by the Bombay film oughtta read Peter Singer's seminal Famine, Affluence, and Morality and his book The Life You Can Save. The vast geographical distances which separate rich from poor are ethically irrelevant. If it's perverse to eat so richly in front of the global poor, it's perverse to eat so anywhere without simultaneously trying to make such disparities a thing of the past.